The European Commission has criticised claims that cutting red meat consumption is an effective way of tackling climate change.

João Almeida da Silva, of the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development, said “scaremongering about meat eating” was not helpful.

In a meeting with EBLEX officials in Brussels last week, Mr da Silva said that people needed to look at the facts about the greenhouse gas impacts of different production methods.

But he said agriculture still had an important role to play in tackling emissions.

According to research published by the EU’s Joint Research Centre of the European Commission this year, livestock emissions are responsible for about 9.1% of all emissions in the bloc.

That figure is half the amount regularly quoted from the FAO Livestock’s Long Shadow report, published in 2006.

Scientists who worked on the FAO report have since admitted that differing methodologies in the calculations compared to other sectors make the figure unreliable.

A review of the FAO report is due out later this year which could suggest that beef production, is more reasonably responsible for around 3% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr da Silva’s comments came during a series of meetings in Brussels organised by EBLEX to discuss climate change, reform the CAP, trends in beef and sheep production and the TSE roadmap.