Trade association Dairy UK has lambasted a report that advised consumers to reduce meat and dairy consumption.
Principles for eating meat and dairy more sustainably (PDF) was produced by Eating Better, a charity that defines itself as encouraging consumers to move towards eating less meat and dairy foods.
However, Dairy UK said the report had wilfully misrepresented the UK dairy sector by implying it was not environmentally sustainable.
“The dairy sector helps to feed the UK with efficient, predominantly grass-based milk production, high animal welfare standards and safe and nutritious foods,” said Dairy UK chief executive Judith Bryans.
“We contribute to food security, look after the land, provide livelihoods and contribute greatly to the national economy.
“Consumers can keep dairy in their diets in the full knowledge that we take our environmental credentials very seriously as we strive to provide them with the tasty, nutritious foods they know and love.”
Dr Bryans said the report too often criticises UK dairy from a global perspective and cherry-picks statistics that paint a false picture of the UK industry.
She added: “Advising consumers to cut their dairy intake is wrong and unhelpful in helping the nation meet its nutritional requirements.
“The authors are also behind the times on global dairy, which is making strides forward on the environmental front and has even signed a declaration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
“Despite the fact that we have a lot to talk about by way of our existing environmental credentials, the UK dairy industry is committed to improving its environmental performance through the Dairy Roadmap, setting challenging targets for reducing the sector’s environmental footprint.”