MFM arrives in Australia

The rise of the veggie

With backing from leading nutritionists, advocacy organizations and a reputable university research institute, the Meat Free Mondays campaign promises to make its mark in Australia.

Meat Free Mondays aims to encourage Australians to go meat free for one day a week “for the good of their health and the good of their planet”.

A key message is not to ask Australians to become vegetarian or vegan. The campaign is seeking to raise awareness of the personal health and environmental benefits of reducing Australia’s meat consumption.

Nutritional experts say that changing the balance to eating more plant-based foods and less meat provides many benefits. According to a recent study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, less than 1 in 10 Australians aged 12 and over usually eat sufficient serves of vegetables.

A study published in the Lancet in 2007 recommended that we should limit our meat consumption to 90g per day to achieve both positive health and environmental outcomes. The National Nutrition Survey indicates that many Australians are consuming almost double that amount: on average, men eat 200g a day and women 116g.

Adverse health consequences such as cardiovascular diseases and some cancers are associated with high meat diets.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) report Livestock’s Long Shadow indicates that meat and dairy products are the foods carrying the greatest environmental burden, accounting for approximately half of food-generated greenhouse gas emissions and 18 per cent of global emissions. According to the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, our livestock industries are responsible for around 10 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse emissions.

The Meat Free Mondays campaign has been launched in Australia by not-for-profit organisation Do Something! and the Fry’s Family Foundation with research support provided by the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures. One of Australia’s best known nutritionists, Dr Rosemary Stanton, is fronting the campaign.

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