United Nations proposes sustainable alternatives to traditional hamburgers
29 noviembre 2018



Livestock Sustainability. On 8 November the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) published an article on the health and environmental effects of hamburger meat production. The Program called for a change in people’s diet to replace beef from hamburgers with chicken or variants of vegetable origin. They raised concern over the emission of methane gas from these animals and the health impact of red meat because of the high levels of fats and cholesterol. It is expected that in 2019, UNEP will work in together with WHO and FAO to deliver an advocacy campaign to discourage this type of consumption.

UNEP argues that beef production destroys the environment through its intensive production, which requires large deforested lands and consumption of large amounts of water (they estimate that to produce a hamburger, “1695 liters” of water are needed).

In turn, they estimate that intensive production, associated with the high demand for these products, also affects health through the supply of medicines to animals. They indicated that the substances used to keep animals healthy can end up in the meat consumed by humans, thus contributing to the phenomenon of antimicrobial resistance.

Next steps

The UN estimates that if the current trend continues, in 2050 the environmental impact of red meat production will grow by 76 percent. The UN, WHO and FAO are expected to launch a long-term awareness-raising campaign in 2019 with the aim of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals on reducing malnutrition and mitigating climate change. It is hoped that these recommendations will be gradually heeded by Latin American governments.