A major global study urging drastic cuts in how much red meat we eat is getting backing from a New Zealand researcher.
The so-called Planetary Diet, published in The Lancet, says big changes to the way we eat could save millions of lives each year.
It says those changes could help the billion people who are under-nourished, but also the two billion who are eating bad food.
"Unless we dramatically change our production and our consumption we’re not going to be able to survive within planetary boundaries, that’s what this report is saying," Auckland University's Prof Boyd Swinburn told 1 NEWS.
He’s a professor of population nutrition and global health at the university’s School of Population Health.
The report urges people to eat just 14g of meat a day, which amounts to one hamburger’s worth of meat each week.
Current guidelines suggest 500g each week, and current levels of meat eating are a big backbone to the country’s economy.
Just yesterday official figures released by Statistics NZ showed beef cattle numbers went up for the second year in a row.
The number lifted five per cent to 3.8 million last year.
"Our economy depends on it but it’s the biggest health problem we have, it’s our biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions, it’s a huge cause of health inequalities," Prof Swinburn said.
"Food is absolutely central to this country and if we don’t get that right then that’s problems for our health and our planet."
Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie told 1 NEWS the meat industry is worth more than $8 billion to the country’s economy, but said it also has a reach beyond the money it provides.
"We also employ around 25,000 people in the processing sector," he told 1 NEWS.
By Kim Baker Wilson