New York to track residents’ food purchases and place ‘caps on meat’ served by public institutions (2023)

New York City will begin tracking the carbon footprint of household food consumption and putting caps on how much red meat can be served in public institutions as part of a sweeping initiative to achieve a 33% reduction in carbon emissions from food by 2030.

New York City will begin tracking the carbon footprint of household food consumption and putting caps on how much red meat can be served in public institutions as part of a sweeping initiative to achieve a 33% reduction in carbon emissions from food by 2030.

Mayor Eric Adams and representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy and Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice announced the new programs last month at a Brooklyn culinary center run by NYC Health + Hospitals, the city’s public healthcare system, just before Earth Day.

At the event, the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice shared a new chart to be included in the city’s annual greenhouse gas inventory that publicly tracks the carbon footprint created by household food consumption, the Gothamist reported.

The city already produced emissions data from energy use, transportation and waste as part of the annual inventory. But the addition of household food consumption data is part of a partnership that London and New York launched with American Express, C40 Cities and EcoData lab, Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection announced at the event.

Aggarwala — who founded Google smart city subsidiary Sidewalk Labs — celebrated the expanded data collection as forging “a new standard for what cities have to do” and a new way to shape policy.

He said the inventory also will measure greenhouse gas pollution from the production and consumption of other consumer goods like apparel, whether or not those items are made in New York City. It also tracks emissions tied to services like air travel and healthcare.

But Adams’ presentation at the event focused on food consumption, particularly meat and dairy.

“Food is the third-biggest source of cities’ emissions right after buildings and transportation,” Adams said. “But all food is not created equal. The vast majority of food that is contributing to our emission crises lies in meat and dairy products.”

He added:

“It is easy to talk about the emissions that’s coming from buildings and how it impacts our environment, but we now have to talk about beef. And I don’t know if people are ready for this conversation.”

Adams — a vegan who, according to a whistleblower, also eats fish, credits his “plant-based diet” for his recovery from diabetes. He is the author of “Healthy at Last: A Plant-Based Approach to Preventing and Reversing Diabetes and Other Chronic Illnesses,” a vegan cookbook.

Adams claims that changing New Yorkers’ eating habits will have both climate and health benefits. He said:

“We already know that a plant-powered diet is better for your physical and mental health, and I am living proof of that. But the reality is that thanks to this new inventory, we’re finding out it is better for the planet.”

But agricultural economists and regenerative farmers say that calculation isn’t actually that simple.

“Different meats have different kinds of greenhouse gas footprints” because of differences in the production systems and “all land is not created equal” Melissa McKendree, Ph.D., an agricultural economist at Michigan State University, told The Defender.

Land that is suitable for cattle production, such as rangeland and pasture, often isn’t suitable for other types of agriculture, and vice versa. And all of those different ecosystems for different plants and animals, when working well, work together to create a healthy ecosystem.

Alternative grazing systems, like the regenerative agricultural systems that McKendree researches, make it possible for pasture-raised beef “to sequester carbon, and to become a carbon sink” — actually reducing the greenhouse gas footprint of food production rather than adding to it.

Regenerative livestock farmer Will Harris told The Defender, “As a practitioner who has been regenerating depleted land for 30+ years I can tell you that regenerating land is about restarting the cycles of nature that have been broken by industrial farming — and restarting those cycles cannot be done cost effectively without animal impact.”

He continued:

“All ecosystems evolved with certain kinds of animal impact and to say we’ve misused technologies to break these cycles of nature and we are going to start them back by leaving out this essential ingredient that has been around for millennia is wrong.

“Sadly there is a percentage of the populace that for whatever reason has decided that animals in the ecosystem are bad and the way to have a healthier planet is to give up that animal impact.

“Many of us have proven that there is benefit, ecological benefit to having animal impact in the equation. It has to be done right, but when it is done right there is an ecological benefit, an ecological service that we provide.

“But this sector of society is so committed to the vegetarian vegan solution, that it doesn’t matter what we demonstrate, they are going to paint us with that same brush.

“They drown out our voices by screaming the same misapplied science over and over and over.”

Organization behind 15-minute city is mapping consumption-based emissions for New York and London

The partnership between American Express, New York, London and C40 Cities to map urban emissions was formally launched last week in a C40 press release. The groups will map the consumption-based emissions of both New York and London.

The press release does not make the purpose of emissions mapping inventories explicit. It simply states the inventories “will enable London and New York City to develop a suite of actions to incentivise more sustainable consumption in collaboration with people and businesses.”

It adds that the project “will also pioneer new ways for other cities to measure emissions from urban consumption,” adding that there is an “urgent need to reduce the emissions impact of urban consumption, especially what is eaten and the waste in food systems.”

To that end, “Building data inventories in partnership with city businesses (such as supermarket chains and retailers) is important for cities to measure, plan and act to ensure our cities become better places to live for all people and sustainable business can thrive.”

The press release bases its claims on a report by the University of Leeds and developer Arup Group.

Arup is a Rockefeller-supported, World Economic Forum-affiliated organization that uses “fourth industrial revolution” technologies to transform cities. They promise that immense quantities of highly detailed data,” can produce a “new level of control” making possible “more efficient and sustainable use of the world’s precious materials.”

The report assesses consumption-based emissions in C40 cities across the world produced by food, clothing, transportation, building infrastructure and household appliances and calls for those emissions to be halved by 2030.

In the same press release, Adams announced that New York has signed on to the C40 Good Food Cities Accelerator, where signatory cities commit to achieving a “planetary healthy diet” by 2030, defined by more “plant-based foods,” less meat and dairy and less food waste overall.

C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is also one of the forces driving the implementation of 15-minute city projects across the world.

The group comprises 96 mayors of cities from around the world, is funded by major corporations and philanthropic foundations and focuses on urban activism for climate change.

Then-Mayor of London Mayor Ken Livingstone founded C40 in 2005 when he convened mayors from 18 cities to agree to cap climate emissions. In 2006, C40 merged with the Clinton Climate Initiative. In July 2020, the group published a framework for cities to “build back better.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies is one of C40’s major funders. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg previously unsuccessfully tried to impose top-down changes on how New Yorkers consume by instituting a wide-scale ban on large sodas and other sugary drinks. The policy was struck down by a state Supreme Court judge.

Will ‘meat caps’ really lower emissions and improve health?

Mayor Adams’ announcement about the C40 Good Food Cities declaration suggests the city will be serving less meat in the future to meet its 2030 goals. Officials from his administration did not specify the targets or the standards that would be used, but did indicate there would be “caps on meat.”

Kate MacKenzie, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, explained that the standards they are developing “set maximums for the number of times that red meat can be served each week and really introduces the plant-based proteins and a floor for that.”

“So it’s really the caps on meat,” she said, adding that the city has been moving in this direction already.

New York already instituted “meatless Mondays” as a joint initiative by Adams and former Mayor Bill De Blasio in 2019. “Vegan Friday” began in public schools last year, where children are served food such as pre-packaged burritos that received reviews such as “nasty” and “sad” on the Brian Lehrer WNYC call-in show.

Meals in the city’s hospitals have been made vegetarian by default, although people can request meat if they prefer.

New York spends roughly $300 million buying food for schools, homeless shelters, hospitals and prisons each year. According to the NYC Food Policy Dashboard, the city spends only about 1% of its food budget on “ruminate meats.”

New York’s initiative is part of a broader move by global policymakers toward targeting the food system — and meat in particular — as a source of emissions. Proposals have ranged from an outright ban on meat consumption to various types of incentives to minimize meat consumption, encourage lab-grown or alternative meat production to putting extra taxes on meat or forcing animal farmers to stop producing, as in the case of the Dutch farmers.

Meat bans, McKendree said, are “the most extreme policy [for addressing environmental impacts of meat production]. Think about what we ban. We ban toxic chemicals like Agent Orange and things that we know have those environmental impacts.”

She continued:

“But when we think about making policies, we have to ask, what’s the issue of concern? And we want to try to target that exact issue. So if our concern is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, then put policies in place that directly reduce carbon or greenhouse gas emissions.

“But banning beef doesn’t have a direct carbon or greenhouse gas emissions effect, it creates a reduction in meat consumption.”

Instead, she said, policymakers could consider a wide range of other policies — from creating certified products, to subsidies, to taxes, to education through cooperative extension at universities like hers — that would support farmers to produce meat using regenerative practices.

“I think there’s other options and opportunities besides banning or capping meat products,” she said.

In its March 2023 report on U.S. biotechnology and biomanufacturing innovation, the White House emphasized a coming focus on climate-centric agriculture in the biotech industry.

The report followed a September 2022 “Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe and Secure American Bioeconomy,” which paves the way for biotechnology to take over food production by opening the door to more lab-grown meats and bioengineered plant foods.

Specific plans in the March “Bold Goals” report include reducing methane emissions from agriculture by 30% by 2030, in part by reducing methane emissions from ruminant livestock.

As policymakers across the world crack down on meat production, the alternative to meat markets, lab-grown meat industry and insect protein markets are booming.

Many meat alternatives require energy-intensive production and are ultra-processed, so may have serious environmental and health impacts

Obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and depression are but a few examples of conditions known to be promoted and exacerbated by a processed food diet.

For example, a December 2022 study in Sweden found many plant-based meat alternatives have very high phytate levels — antinutrients that inhibit the absorption of minerals in the human body.

As a result, while the meat substitute may appear to contain many of the necessary nutrients, such as iron, the body cannot absorb them according to a report in NutritionInsight.

Harris said the processed foods that will likely replace the meat that they are taking out of the meals are “less healthy, less good for the environment, and less good for the local rural economy that is rebounding by raising food right. There’s a lot of losers in this.”


Why is pork the most consumed meat? ›

Pork typically took the top spot of the most consumed meats in the world because it comes in different forms, is easy to preserve, and is a good source of protein. In 2020, pig meat accounted for 33 percent of the total meat production, a decrease from 39 percent in 2000.

What is the most consumed meat in the United States? ›

Chicken is America's favorite meat, hands down. No other meat comes close to chicken's popularity. Don't believe it? Check out these statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

What is the number 1 meat eaten in the world? ›

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world (36%) followed by poultry (33%), beef (24%), and goats/sheep (5%).

What country consumes the most meat? ›

The most consumed type of meat worldwide is poultry, followed by beef, and lastly pork. The countries with the highest meat consumption per capita are Argentina, Israel, and Iceland, while India has one of the lowest levels of meat consumption per capita.

What is the most expensive meat in the world? ›

Not surprisingly, the most expensive meat in the world — the Kobe beef A5 Wagyu Tomahawk — is also the highest quality of beef. Only a specific type of cattle from a certain region of Japan are selected to make Kobe beef, according to Ventured.

Why is pork the dirtiest meat? ›

Did you know that pigs carry a variety of parasites in their bodies and meat? Some of these parasites are difficult to kill even when cooking. This is the reason there are so many warnings out there about eating undercooked pork. One of the biggest concerns with eating pork meat is trichinosis or trichinellosis.

Who eats more meat the United States or China? ›

China is the world's largest consumer meat market. Meat consumption in China has increased steadily since the early 1990s. In 2021, the Chinese consumed almost 100 million tons of meat—27 percent of the world's total 1. and twice the total consumption in the United States.

Which U.S. city eats the most meat? ›

The third factor was the number of steakhouses and special events held in regards to meat. Using those factors, they found the meatiest city in the nation to be New York City.

What state has the most meat? ›

Texas produces the most beef in the U.S.

Per the state motto, "Everything is bigger in Texas," this includes the facilities of cattle production, with individual feedlots housing some 26,000 cows, via The Guardian.

What meat is the healthiest? ›

The List: Top 5 Healthiest Meats, According To Experts
  1. Chicken Breast. You probably guessed this one. ...
  2. Turkey Breast. It's not just for Thanksgiving. ...
  3. Beef. Though most doctors and nutritionists recommend limiting red meat consumption, it is still full of beneficial proteins and nutrients. ...
  4. Fish. ...
  5. Bison.
Feb 16, 2023

What animal has the most edible meat? ›

Pork. Pork, the meat from hogs, or domestic swine, is the most consumed animal in the world at 36% (Source: UN-FAO). Pork is commonly thought of as white meat, but it is actually classified as red meat by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Which animal has the tastiest meat? ›

  1. Lamb. Some types of meat we eat much more often while others we eat really rarely. ...
  2. Pork. Pork is one of the most consumed types of meat in the world. ...
  3. Duck. Duck is tasty meat that is eaten in all parts of the world, especially in China and East Asian countries. ...
  4. Salmon. ...
  5. Lobster. ...
  6. Beef. ...
  7. Chicken. ...
  8. Deer meat.

What country eats the most bacon? ›

Today, bacon is enjoyed around the world, especially in Denmark, which ranks #1 in bacon consumption per capita. But that doesn't mean we don't love bacon here in the U.S. In fact, we produce more than 2 billion pounds of bacon annually and annual per capita consumption is around 18 pounds per person in the US.

Which country does not eat meat? ›

What nationality doesn't eat meat? These include religions that originated in India, such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. With close to 85% of India's billion-plus population practicing these religions, India remains the country with the highest number of vegetarians in the world.

What country eats the most chicken? ›

The country that consumes the greatest amount of chicken is the United States. Every year, the United States consumes approximately 15,000 metric tons of chicken, placing it significantly in front of the second-place region.

What is the most unhealthy meat? ›

Finally, health experts say to stay away from processed meats, which are generally considered to be unhealthy. These include any meat that has been smoked, salted, cured, dried, or canned. Compared to fresh meat, processed meats are high in sodium and can have double the amount of nitrates.

What's the rarest meat to eat? ›

Kobe beef might be one of the rarest meats in the world, but its popularity has meant that it's now available across the globe - albeit in selected restaurants, and only to those who can afford it.

What is the cheapest meat in America? ›

  • Whole Chicken.
  • Chicken Leg Quarters.
  • Chicken Thighs.
  • Chicken Drumsticks.
  • Pork Shoulder and Pork Butt.
  • Ham.
  • Ground beef.
  • Beef Chuck Roast.
Feb 25, 2021

Why does the Bible say not to eat pork? ›

In Leviticus 11:27, God forbids Moses and his followers to eat swine “because it parts the hoof but does not chew the cud.” Furthermore, the prohibition goes, “Of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch; they are unclean to you.” That message is later reinforced in Deuteronomy.

Why do Jews not eat pork? ›

Prohibition in Jewish law

The Torah (Pentateuch) contains passages in Leviticus that list the animals people are permitted to eat. According to Leviticus 11:3, animals like cows, sheep, and deer that have divided hooves and chew their cud may be consumed. Pigs should not be eaten because they don't chew their cud.

Does the Bible say not to eat pork? ›

It is only in Leviticus 11:7 that eating pork is forbidden to God's people for the very first time—“… and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.” This is where and when pork in all its forms (including ham, bacon, sausage, etc.)

What nationality eats the most? ›

According to daily calorie intake, Austria consumes more calories than any other country, followed by the United States. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Food Balance Sheets, food consumption refers to the available food for human consumption.

Why does China eat so much meat? ›

Still, the Chinese widely believe that consuming animal products—specifically beef and milk—are necessary for health and nutrition. This is partially because of Chinese views on the West, where the international success of American athletes corresponds with high national meat and milk consumption.

Do most Americans eat too much meat? ›

Meat can be a good source of protein and other essential nutrients, but most Americans eat more than 1.5 times the average daily protein requirement,3, and consume more than the recommended amount of foods from the USDA Protein Foods group.

What is the least liked meat? ›

The least popular meat items were pork chop and ham, chosen on average 0.80 and 0.68 times, respectively, out of 9.

What state eats the least meat? ›

In Maine, on the other hand, people eat red meat the least frequently in the country, more than once or twice a week, but generally less than three times.

What is the best tasting beef in the US? ›

Angus Cattle

Angus beef has become all the rage in recent years thanks to its well-marbled meat, which typically earns Prime or Choice grades from the USDA and is usually the highest-quality meat available in grocery stores.

Is pork a red meat or white? ›

But you may be surprised to learn that, before the 80's, pork wasn't usually considered white meat (and certainly never the “other white meat”). In fact, the USDA still classifies pork as red meat and many nutritionists reject the labeling of pork as white meat.

What state is known for meat? ›

So it's surprising that only four states—Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Texas—name meaty dishes among their official state foods. And Maryland doesn't really count—its state food is the blue crab, which is more like an edible bug than a meat.

What state has the most red meat? ›

Seven states have over 1 million beef cows in 2023. The ten states with the highest number of beef cows are: Texas - 4,300,000. Oklahoma - 1,981,000.

What is the unhealthiest cut of steak? ›

"Ribeye is one of the worst steaks to order," says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim. "It is marbled with fat and full of saturated fat as well. This type of fat is unhealthy for the heart as it can raise your LDL 'unhealthy' cholesterol and can clog arteries."

What is the least harmful meat to eat? ›

#1 Turkey and Chicken

These birds do not produce methane and need less food and water than sheep and cows. If you want to minimise your carbon footprint without giving up meat, chicken is your best option.

What animal is killed the most for meat? ›

It says 50 billion animals have been slaughtered so far. Broilers chicken took the brunt from the death squad and lost 8 billion feathered chicks. Additionally, that's 214 million turkeys, 36 million cattle, 124 million pigs, 23 million ducks, 7 million sheep, 4 billion fish, and 43 billion shellfish around the world.

Why Muslims don t eat pork? ›

The main reason pork is forbidden for Muslims is because it says in the Holy Quran that some food is allowed, while others are explicitly declared haram, which means forbidden. And pork is one of those forbidden foods.

What is the most eaten food in the world? ›

Rice is a food staple for more than 3.5 billion people around the world, particularly in Asia, Latin America, and parts of Africa. Rice has been cultivated in Asia for thousands of years. Scientists believe people first domesticated rice in India or Southeast Asia. Rice arrived in Japan in about 3,000 years ago.

Why do so many people eat pork? ›

Pork is a rich source of certain vitamins and minerals your body needs to function, like iron and zinc. It's also an excellent source of high-quality protein. Minimally processed, lean, fully-cooked pork eaten in moderation can provide certain benefits when added to your diet.

Why do Americans eat so much pork? ›

Demographics play a major role, as well: Pork is a popular meat in Latino cooking, and sales have grown with that population. Pork has also benefited from the fact that Americans' spending on food, particularly at restaurants, has rebounded since the recession.

Why do people like pork so much? ›

Not only is pork tasty, but it's nutritious, too. “Pork is a user-friendly protein that absorbs flavor well. Almost any method of cooking can be used to achieve your desired outcome.

Why is pork the most consumed meat in China? ›

China's meat industry produces and consumes a wide variety of meats, including pork, beef, poultry, and other meats such as lamb, goat, and fish. Historically, pork and poultry have been the most popular meats in China, due in part to their affordability and widespread availability.


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