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New Zeland’s Ministry of Health has promoted a plant-based diet in its latest report – Sustainability and the Health Sector: A guide to getting started.
The report, published July 30, also encourages people to ‘reduce meat and dairy’ and ‘buy local and sustainable food products’ – stating that agriculture makes up nearly half (49 percent) of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions (Ministry for the Environment, 2018).
“Diet has important consequences for health and the health sector is already committed to providing healthy food. Sustainable actions around food relate to making healthy food choices available for patients, visitors, and staff in canteens and cafes,” the report reads.
“Producing meat (particularly red meat) is resource-intensive and has a larger carbon footprint than producing plant-based protein alternatives (Harvie, 2008).
“The health sector can work with staff dieticians to develop alternative patient menus and encourage plant-based diets.”
Minimizing food waste
The report also suggests reducing packaging by avoiding using single-use plastic items, minimizing food waste through incentives such as composting, and self-growing fruit and vegetables to ‘improve local resilience and foster a sense of community’.
Click here to download and read the full report