Know where your meat and dairy come from
To assess climate impacts of different food choices, EWG partnered with CleanMetrics, an environmental analysis and consulting firm, to do lifecycle assessments of 20 popular types of meat (including fish), dairy and vegetable proteins. The assessments provide the full “cradle-to-grave” carbon footprint of each food item based on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated before and after the food leaves the farm, from the pesticides and fertilizer used to grow animal feed through the grazing, animal raising, processing, transportation, cooking and, finally, disposal of unused food. The analysis includes the emissions from producing food that never gets eaten, either because it’s left on the plate, because of spoilage or because of fat and moisture loss during cooking. The analysis focused on conventionally produced meat (fed non-organic grain and raised or fattened in confined feeding operations), because that’s what Americans mostly eat. It includes the environmental impacts of meat production at each stage of the supply chain.
Click on each image to get more information about the climate and environmental impacts of each stage of the meat and dairy supply chain.