UK NGO Eating Better has launched a new framework to guide retailers and restaurants towards sourcing “better” meat, in line with its aim of halving UK meat and dairy consumption by 2050 and transitioning to “better” meat and dairy as standard.
The framework identifies eight key areas that should be considered by retailers and the food service sector when developing meat sourcing policies. For each area, it distinguishes between “basic”, “better” and “best” standards. The areas are:
- Animal welfare. Free-range, pasture-raised and extensive systems are favoured.
- Antibiotic use. Low use is favoured, with the last-resort antibiotic colistin ideally not being used at all.
- Greenhouse gas emissions. The standards here focus on reducing the stocking density of animals and reducing emissions compared to a benchmark for each product.
- Land use change. Locally sourced feed and less use of uncertified soy and palm kernel meal are favoured; the “best” category calls for exclusively pasture-based systems.
- Biodiversity. This area refers to biodiversity on farms; low inputs of pesticides and fertilisers are preferred.
- Soil health. Lower stocking densities are preferred.
- Local pollution. Lower stocking densities and lower pesticide use are preferred.
- Water scarcity. Use of mains or abstracted water should be reduced; animal feed should come from catchments with sustainable water management.
Read the full report, Sourcing Better: A pathway to less and better meat and dairy, here (PDF link) and read the press release here (PDF link). See also the Table explainer Focus: the difficult livestock issue.