China's new food guidelines try to curb nation's meat consumption

It's no secret that eating meat contributes to climate change; environmentalists and more have long urged the world's citizens to reduce the amount of meat they eat, replacing it with food that is more sustainable and easier on the planet. China recently issued revised dietary guidelines that reflect this, and it could lead to a drastic reduction in the nation's emissions related to meat consumption.

The new guidelines were created by the Chinese Nutrition Society and were announced by the PRC's Ministry of Health. The move appears to be one primarily concerned with decreasing obesity in the nation, but environmental concerns could have played a part. According to Climate Nexus, the organization WildAid has teamed up with the Chinese Nutrition Society.

WildAid's website describes dual purposes behind the organization, one being "to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes," including things like the poaching of rhino horns and elephant ivory. As well, the organization says it is also working to "reduce global consumption of wildlife products."

Whether the new guidelines will reduce how much meat China consumes or merely slow down its rate of increase is yet to be seen. The changes aren't too drastic, however. The upper limit of recommended meat consumption has not changed from 75 grams daily, but rather the lower limit has dropped to 40 grams from the previous 50.

The new guidelines come at time when China anticipates fairly drastic increases in meat consumption in the coming years, something that will result in more land being used for livestock and more water resources being dedicated to farms. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, in its present form, China has a per capita meat consumption rating of about 136lbs annually.