Harris Would Change Dietary Guidelines, Food Labels, to Discourage Red Meat Consumption

Susan Jones | September 5, 2019 | 7:28am EDT
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Democrat Presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - "I love cheeseburgers from time to time," Sen. Kamala Harris admitted Wednesday night at CNN town hall for Democrat presidential hopefuls.

But she said "yes," she would change dietary guidelines, even food labels, to show how red meat consumption impacts the environment.

An audience member told Harris: "Climate change has been linked to agriculture and the over-consumption of red meat and also the over production of crops."

The questioner noted that some countries have changed their dietary guidelines to reduce the consumption of red meat. "If elected...will you be supporting change in dietary guidelines, and then how will you plan on implementing the changes so that people effectively change their diets?" she asked.

"Yes," Harris responded, saying it should be "a real priority at the highest level of government" to address healthy eating, "because we have a problem in America."

Harris mentioned sugar and soda: "We could go on and on. So the answer is yes. But I'll also say this," Harris continued. "The balance that we have to strike here, frankly, is about what government can and should do around creating incentives and then banning certain behaviors.

"I mean, just to be very honest with you, I love cheeseburgers from time to time. Right? I mean I -- I just do. And -- and I think that -- but there is -- but there has to be also what we do in terms of creating incentives that we will eat in a healthy way, that we will encourage moderation, and that we will be educated about the effect of our eating habits on our environment, and we have to do a much better job of that. And the government has to do a much better job of that."

Host Erin Burnett followed up, asking Harris, "But would you support changing the dietary guidelines? You know, the food pyramid to reduce red meat specifically?"

"Yes," Harris said. "Yes, I would."

And I'll tell you, I've actually worked on this issue in the past. And it's about -- you know, it is about consumer awareness also. And again, maybe this comes from my years of being -- doing the work I did as attorney general, which is, I strongly believe that the American consumer is still left without the information that you need and deserve to have about what it is that you are putting in your body or surrounding yourself with. And the health implications of those things.

And so across the board and with this subject, we have to do a better job. And we're going to be taking on powerful interests. But I've always believed that we should -- you know, we should expand what's on those cans of those things that you buy in the grocery store. We should expand the list. And included in that should be a measure of the impact on the environment.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture, including methane-emitting livestock, "have been rapidly increasing" in recent decades, and a number of climate change groups advocate reducing red-meat consumption to reduce those levels.


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