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Plant-based burgers have too many ingredients. you say?  It's a common refrain, probably planted by meaty public relations teams.  As the complaint goes, veggie burgers contain salt and a few chemical compounds. People looking for reasons to eat meat every day are now using this as an excuse to call veggie burgers unhealthy.

Nonsense.  Yes, plant-based burgers are processed foods, but miminally so compared to ultra-processed snack foods that many people eat daily. 

And you think beef, pork, and chicken, come without additives?  Here are some ingredients in "real meat," though you'll never it see on a label.  These are invisible ingredients, and they're much more serious than visible ones.

INVISIBLE INGREDIENTS IN BEEF, CHICKEN, AND PORK

(1) LAND.  Producing beef, pork, and chicken takes more far land than does producing any equivalent amount of plant-based protein.  More than 75% of global farming land is used for livestock animals, to produce only 18% of the world's calories. https://ourworldindata.org/land-use.

(2) FEED. Of the grains and pulses produced worldwide, much of it is not food for people but feed for livestock animals.  Here's the expert Our World in Data: https://ourworldindata.org/soy:

More than three-quarters (77%) of global soy is fed to livestock for meat and dairy production. Most of the rest is used for biofuels, industry or vegetable oils. Just 7% of soy is used directly for human food products such as tofu, soy milk, edamame beans, and tempeh. The idea that foods often promoted as substitutes for meat and dairy – such as tofu and soy milk – are driving deforestation is a common misconception.

(3) WATER.  Fresh water is in short supply on Planet Earth, yet we produce and consume industrial beef and other meats that use disproportionate amounts of that water.  Livestock are responsible for the use of at least 40% of agriculture water -- much more than are plant-based proteins. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019WR026995.

(4) DRUGS and CHEMICALS. Industrially-produced animals ingest large amounts of pharmaceuticals.  Antibiotics have long been fed to livestock, and -- despite claims from aagribusiness -- still are, in many factory farms. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/antimicrobial-stewardship/us-lagging-europe-efforts-cut-antibiotics-livestock. Then, chemical fertilizers are often over-used on feedcrops, sending nitrogen into the atmosphere in the form of the potent greenhouse gas that is nitrous oxide.  https://www.nfu.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/nitrogen-fertilizer-report-nfu-2022-en.pdf

Yes, veggie burgers have ingredients.  But the invisible ingredients in beef, pork, and chicken are greater threats to health and environment.

 

 

 


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