Beef and lamb top NZ’s food emissions

Beef and lamb are the most climate-polluting foods, according to University of Otago researchers who put together a database of foods commonly consumed in New Zealand and their climate effects. Beef and lamb are followed by processed meats, butter, pork, and cheese.

The researchers say if all Kiwi adults shifted to a plant-based diet, emission savings equivalent to cutting annual car emissions by 59 per cent could be made.

Savings to the healthcare system worth billions of dollars over the next few decades could be made, too, according to the University of Otago study.

Lead researcher and Otago medical student Jono Drew explains the global food system is driving both the climate crisis and the growing burden of common chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
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