Packham under fire for branding fake bacon ‘planet-friendly’

Broadcaster and environmental activist Chris Packham has come under fire for urging Radio Times readers to drink soya milk and eat vegan “bacon” to save the planet.

Mr Packham, who is a controversial figure in farming circles, called on people to make the switch from meat and dairy as guest editor of the magazine’s Earth Day special issue.

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In a “cut-out-and-keep guide to planet-friendly foodstuffs”, he claimed using a soya milk alternative on cereal would reduce the amount of land use breakfast contributes to by 92%, and reduce the fresh water used to produce it by 95%.

He also suggested moving to “facon” would produce 92% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and use 84% less fresh water.

But NFU livestock board chairman David Barton said environmental arguments about eating meat were “oversimplified” and didn’t take into account where and how food is produced or its nutritional benefit.

Red meat and dairy are naturally rich sources of protein and calcium and provide essential nutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamin B12, which many people in the UK lack.

“They are also good sources of unprocessed protein, where many non-meat alternatives are highly processed,” Mr Barton added.

Meanwhile, NFU east regional livestock chairman Hugh Broom said: “It’s unbelievable that people are still promoting ultra-processed soya-based diets as both a healthy and environmentally friendly option – especially when UK farms produce some of the best unaltered protein in the world.”

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