The United States Department of Agriculture is preparing its latest dietary guidelines and this time environmentalists are pressuring the USDA to recommend eating less red meat to reduce the carbon footprint of the cattle industry.
Ibach says there is no reason to reduce consumption of red meat for health reasons.
“The same message we’ve had for years that red meat can be a part of a healthy diet,” Ibach tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “You just have to follow the proper guidelines, pay attention to your portion size, and if you’re especially concerned about the fat in your diet, you pick leaner cuts.”
A panel that makes recommendations for the federal dietary guidelines has suggested sustainability of the environment should be considered in their make-up. Some argue the beef industry has too large a carbon footprint and needs to be scaled back.
Ibach has written Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, arguing that sustainability has no place in the dietary guidelines which should be solely directed at providing consumers with scientific-based dietary information.
Ibach contends the recommendations could eventually reflect more environmental concerns than dietary concerns.
“I think if you look closely at the recommendations they made, they really didn’t change their recommendations for red meat overall,” Ibach says. “They came in with a sustainability statement that then confused consumers.”
The USDA updates its dietary guidelines every five years.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.