Meat, Health & Global Food Security

Meat represents an important source of high quality dietary protein and key micronutrients (particularly iron, zinc and vitamin B12) for a large proportion of the global population. However, excessive consumption has been associated with increased susceptibility to a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2-diabetes and colorectal cancer. Furthermore, in the face of population growth and global warming, there is also increasing concern about the sustainability of farm animal production. My talk will briefly describe some of the work we are involved in to develop novel feed ingredients in improve the sustainability of meat product alongside strategies for reducing intake in developed countries. For example, we have demonstrated that insect larvae may represent an alternative high value protein source to commonly used feed ingredients such as soya and fish meal. In the ‘Eat Less Meat’ study, healthy, non-obese omnivores were provided with a range of non-meat alternative and challenged to reduce their fresh and processed red meat intake by 50% for 3 months. Most participants comfortably achieved the target and this was accompanied by modest reductions in total and LDL cholesterol in males, but not females. However, this was also accompanied by some potentially detrimental effects on haematological variables, with 40% of subjects displaying neutropenic profiles. The implications of this work on the future meat production and consumption will be discussed.