Meat alternatives

Bioethics Briefing Note

Published 08/01/2020

Meat alternatives bioethics briefing note 1
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Rather than trying to alter people’s meat-eating behaviour, manufacturers are changing how alternatives to meat are produced. This represents a paradigm-shift in strategies to address the ethical issues associated with meat production.

The sustainability profiles of meat alternatives look promising in some scenarios. But energy-intensive processes could reduce sustainability goals, and there is little independent evidence on the effects of production. Long-term studies are needed to assess the health implications of eating meat alternatives, some of which are highly processed. However, it might not be appropriate or fair to hold them to higher standards of healthiness than conventional meat, given their potential positive environmental and animal welfare profiles.

Concerns have been expressed about a lack of regulatory preparedness for meat alternatives more broadly, and there are calls for accurate and transparent labelling and marketing practices.

The potential for meat alternatives to contribute to sustainable food systems should be considered within broader contexts and alongside a range of other potential solutions for achieving food sustainability.

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