Leading clinical scientist calls for greater transparency around red meat studies

4th October 2022

Leading clinical scientist calls for greater transparency around red meat studies

One of the world's most respected clinical scientists has called for greater transparency around red meat studies which don't take into consideration the full benefits derived from its consumption.

Professor Alice Stanton, Professor of Cardiovascular Pharmacology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Director of Human Health at Devenish, said policy makers should be extremely wary of any studies which aren't "rigorously and transparently evidence based and ignore the protections against nutritional deficiencies afforded by animal-sourced food".

She was speaking at the 12th Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock multi-stakeholder meeting held this week in Dublin where over 150 professionals from 42 countries convened for a week-long event entitled 'Livestock Sector Actions Towards More Sustainable Food Systems'. It aims to encourage the global livestock sector to display and commit to actions toward more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient livestock systems as part of a global food system transformation.

In recent months, Professor Stanton has led a campaign calling for the authors of the very influential Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Risk Factors study to provide evidence for the dramatically increased number of deaths attributed to unprocessed red meat consumption, contained in The Lancet published GBD 2019 report. She also queries why the editors of The Lancet have not required immediate correction of the serious author confirmed errors in this report.

In her address, Professor Stanton highlighted the protective effects of animal-source foods, including red meat, and emphasized the need for clear and consistent evidence-based health messages.

Professor Stanton said: "It's an honour to be part of this valuable event, which has brought together people from multiple disciplines, from across the globe, to share learnings and reflect on how the livestock sector can work together to contribute to more sustainable and resilient food systems.

"Animal-source foods are an important source of many key health promoting nutrients and, as part of a balanced diet, they protect against nutritional deficiencies, helping to reduce the likelihood of childhood stunting, iron deficiency anaemia, and elderly frailty.

"It is vital that public health messaging is based on accurate scientific data and that is why I am campaigning for greater transparency in the evidence used to inform policy. As such, I have called on the authors of the GBD 2019 study to share their evidence and to correct their errors. Given the substantial influence of GBD reports on worldwide nutritional policy decision-making, it is of considerable importance that the GBD estimates are subject to scrutiny, and that they continue to be rigorously and transparently evidence based."

Pictured at the 12th Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock multi-stakeholder meeting is (from left): Thanawat Tiensin, Director, Animal Production and Health Division, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations; Shirley Tarawali, Chair, Global Agenda on Sustainable Livestock; Brendan Gleeson, Secretary General, Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; Alice Stanton, Director of Human Health, Devenish; Tom Arnold, Government of Ireland's Special Envoy on Food Systems; David Kennedy, Head of Dairy, Bord Bia

Back to Press Releases