Important Coronavirus Announcement

Due to the significant number of attendee cancellations (both personal and enforced travel bans), and based on the situation, the decision has been taken to move Rethink to a later date. This will be confirmed shortly.

Since our recent updates regarding Rethink and Coronavirus, events have continued to unfold at speed. We have therefore made the difficult decision to postpone the event, due to the magnitude of the unanticipated public health and safety issues posed by the escalating Covid-19 outbreaks and contagion.

Until recently, we had been encouraged to continue with the event as planned. However, the outbreaks are escalating, and we believe as so many attending the conference are part of the food supply chain the responsible action is to postpone the event.

As you will imagine, this decision has not been taken lightly. As sustainability continues to be at the top of the industry’s agenda, we are working hard to look at our options going forwards and will keep you informed.

Rethink Blog

WHERE

30 Euston Square
London

WHEN

Tues 17 March
2020

ARTICLE

EAT-Lancet’s environmental claims are an epic fail

By Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D.

bowl of hummus close up

The EAT-Lancet Commission’s attempt at establishing a “global planetary health diet that is healthy for both people and planet” was much-anticipated. With a promise like that, it should come as no surprise that the recommendations captured international attention when the study was published in mid-January 2019.

But the excitement around its environmental considerations has fallen flat, at least in circles that rely on science-based evidence to support their conclusions.

By way of background, the “universal healthy reference diet” proposed by the EAT commission drastically reduces the amount of meat – especially red meat – and animal products, giving us something that is about as close as one can get to veganism without being all-out vegan. But it’s not the panacea for environmental  health (and quite possibly a far cry from a nutritious diet) that its authors say it is and that it was tooted to be by much of the media.  Even more, they know it.

Though published in the esteemed journal “The Lancet”, the article – some  50 pages long – plays on the myth that changing what we eat can drastically affect the environment. Note to the commission: We’ve been down this road before, and it’s a dead end. Professors Hall and White, among others, have proven that. As I’ve pointed out previously, the disservice of the EAT Commission’s work – the downright danger – is that it leads the public to believe that food choices will drastically affect the climate and the environment overall. It surely has some effect, but nothing close to the impact of burning of fossil fuels! The science behind the environmental claims in the EAT report is sketchy at best and numerous info- and clarification/correction requests have stayed unanswered.

When the study was published, I delved into the report to analyze the science behind the environmental claims. I found numerous incorrect references, and both the methodology and conclusions to be flawed. I raised some questions and finally received this email from Fabrice DeClerck, science director of the EAT-Lancet Commission:



I applaud Dr. DeClerck’s honesty, but it’s a glaring example of too little too late. The much-awaited study of the EAT Commission makes environmental claims that are misleading the public into thinking all one has to do to halt climate change is opt for a veggie burger. It’s a claim that has no basis in science, not even the brand employed by the commission in the recently released report.

Publicly, despite knowing there are errors in the report, the commission is standing by its assertions

Privately, it’s a different story. The correct one. When will they open up and set the record straight publicly as they have done for me?

Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D., is a professor and air quality specialist in cooperative extension in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California. He is committed to making a difference for generations to come, and thus, is passionate about understanding and mitigating air emissions from livestock operations, as well as studying the implications of these emissions for the health and safety of farm workers and neighboring communities.

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