Reactions to the “news” USDA’s encouragement of “Meatless Mondays” in an internal newsletter continue. Sen. Chuck Grassley, Rep. Steve King, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, PETA, and the USDA itself, have all responded.
Explanation: “Meatless Mondays” is a campaign started by the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University to encourage Americans to give up eating meat one day a week. Among health benefits, the campaign believes cutting down on meat consumption limits cancer risk, reduces heart disease, helps fight diabetes, curbs obesity, improves longevity and lowers fat intake. Environmentally, switching to one meatless day per week can reduce your carbon footprint, cut down on water usage and reduce fossil fuel dependence.
Politico reports the initial fallout out from the Agriculture Department newsletter:
“As part of an internal agency newsletter, employers were given tips on how to reduce the environmental impact while eating at the department’s cafeteria. The department removed the posting after the beef association denounced it in a press release.”
The news of the “Meatless Monday” pitch provoked a strong reaction from Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley on Wednesday via Twitter.
I will eat more meat on Monday to compensate for stupid USDA recommendation abt a meatless Monday
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) July 25, 2012
PETA, in response, has begun taking “informal bets” on when Sen. Grassley will die as a result of his increased meat consumption.
The USDA has retracted the newsletter as of today. They claim the newsletter was not properly cleared, adding, “USDA does not endorse Meatless Monday.”