Apr 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

USDA chief: Biden won't cut red meat consumption

Photo of Tom Vilsack's face
Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday that President Biden has no plans to cut red meat consumption as part of his efforts to combat climate change, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Conservative lawmakers and pundits had spread baseless claims that Biden's wide-ranging climate action plan includes a proposal to reduce red meat consumption by 90% and limit people to four pounds of red meat per year.

What he's saying: "There’s no desire, no effort, no press release, no policy paper — none of that — that would support the notion that the Biden administration is going to suggest that people eat less meat," Vilsack said at a virtual briefing with the North American Agricultural Journalists on Monday, per Politico. "Or that USDA has some program designed to reduce meat consumption. It’s simply not the case."

  • "Sometimes in the political world, games get played and issues are injected into the conversation knowing full well that there’s no factual basis."
  • Vilsack noted that officials can address emissions from the farm industry through feed additives or methane capture technology.

The claims are rooted in an April 2020 academic study that showed how dietary changes can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • After some right-wing outlets painted the study as Biden's policy, Republican figures including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Donald Trump Jr. circulated the claims online.

Reality check: Biden has pledged to cut the U.S.'s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030, but has not specifically targeted the farm industry, which contributes to about 10% of emissions.

Go deeper