According to the National Food Survey, in 1974 the average person was eating 50g of organ meat per week but in 2014 the average person only ate 5g per week. This downward trend has resulted in lots of wasted food from livestock. However, Organuary provides an opportunity to help reduce our food waste as a society by including more organ meats in your diet.
Along with this opportunity comes responsibility. Livestock farming can be portrayed as an environmental nightmare but if practised correctly it can result in a net benefit for the environment. Meaning that if properly sourced, eating animal foods can be good for the planet.
Below we explain how eating more organ meats is good for both reducing food waste and improving the environment. If you’d like to get stuck in right away, feel free to look at some tasty recipes by clicking here.
Reducing Food Waste
Animals are an important part of our diet but the organs of livestock are often thrown away or discarded after sitting on shelves. By increasing your consumption of organ meats you will help reduce food waste and make the life that was given for your food go further.
In addition to this, organ meats are much cheaper than muscle meats. For example, at most supermarkets lamb shank is priced approximately at £10.00 per kg, but lamb’s liver is approximately priced at £2.50 per kg. Plus, organ meats are often more nutritious than muscle meats, giving you more for your money. You can read about the nutritional benefits of organ meats by clicking here.
Regenerative Livestock Farming
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that livestock accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gases. However, recent research has found that if we increase our consumption of organ meats to twice a week we could reduce global greenhouse gases from livestock to 12.5%. This may not sound much but globally that’s a reduction of 994 million metric tonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide per year. To put that in perspective, that’s the same as taking 214 million cars off the road every year. However, what these numbers don’t take into account is soil carbon sequestration from regenerative farming.
If you haven’t heard of soil carbon sequestration before, it’s the process of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and returning it into the soil. This can be achieved in different ways but one of the most promising for the long-term prosperity of the planet is regenerative livestock farming.
In a nutshell, regenerative livestock farming means that livestock graze on grass in fields instead of grains in factories. If this practice is implemented, the total equivalent carbon dioxide from the animals is sequestered back into the soil on which they graze, and in some instances actually sequesters more than they emit.
One well-documented example, is White Oak Pastures in Georgia, USA. For every kilogram of fresh meat produced, 3.5kg of equivalent carbon dioxide is sequestered into the soil. For comparison, for every kilogram of the plant-based Beyond Burger produced, 4.0kg of equivalent carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere. Meaning that if livestock are farmed in the right way there is a net benefit for the environment from the increased carbon dioxide sequestration to increased biodiversity on the land itself.
In the UK, livestock farming has a carbon footprint that is 2.5 times lower than the global average. This is partially because UK livestock are up to 90% grass-fed, 85% of their water consumption comes from rainwater, hormone treatment is banned and antibiotic growth promoters have been phased out. Meaning that even if you buy standard British farmed organ meats, it’s potentially at least carbon neutral, if not a net benefit for carbon sequestration.
Having said that, if you’d like the organ meat you eat throughout Organuary to be 100% grass-fed guaranteed then we recommend that you find a farmer local to you via Pasture for Life, who certify UK farmers that raise their livestock purely on pasture. If you’re based in the US then you can find your local grass-feeding farmers via the American Grassfed Association.
For more information on regenerative farming we recommend visiting the Sustainable Food Trust website.