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USDA Promotes ‘Meatless Monday,’ Beef Industry Has A Cow

An internal newsletter published on the USDA website mentioned how Meatless Mondays could help the environment. The beef industry couldn't have disagreed more.

confidential on computer screen

Photo: highersights (Flickr)

A USDA spokesperson said the newsletter “was posted without proper clearance."

Perhaps the USDA didn’t think mentioning Meatless Monday would result in a social media uproar.

But it did.

For Employees’ Eyes Only?

In an internal newsletter posted online Monday, the USDA briefly endorsed forgoing meat products on Mondays as a way to go green.

Quoted from the now retracted statement,

One simple way to reduce your environmental impact while dining at our cafeterias is to participate in the ‘Meatless Monday’ initiative…This international effort, as the name implies, encourages people not to eat meat on Mondays… How will going meatless one day of the week help the environment? The production of meat, especially beef (and dairy as well), has a large environmental impact.

A Beef With The USDA

By Wednesday, beef producers were up in arms.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association quickly refuted the claim that avoiding meat for one day would have a positive environmental impact, stating that the beef industry has become more environmentally friendly.

A USDA spokesperson said the newsletter “was posted without proper clearance,” and the organization officially does not endorse Meatless Monday.

Meaty Drama

A Twitter storm has ensued from both sides of the issue.

Senator Chuck Grassley writes, “I will eat more meat on Monday to compensate for stupid USDA recommendation abt [sic] a meatless Monday.”

ThinkProgress writes, “Right-wing pressure prompts USDA to withdraw support for “Meatless Monday” with a link to their article.

What do you think? Did the USDA overstep their bounds or should they have stood in support of Meatless Mondays? Share your thoughts below!

Read More:

  • Retracting a Plug for Meatless Monday (New York Times)
  • USDA under fire for backing ‘meatless Mondays,’ linking ranching to climate change (Fox News)
  • After Uproar, USDA Walks Back ‘Meatless Monday’ Support (NPR)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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