Melbourne study: vegan foods have smallest footprint

Results released by researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology confirm that plant based foods have the smallest greenhouse gas emissions.

The researchers reviewed 369 published studies looking at the environmental impact of the energy and materials used to produce different foods.

Their aim was to help people decide what to eat to reduce their carbon footprint. This is the most complete listing of food greenhouse gas emissions available to the public.

They examined the following categories of food: fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, staples (grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and rice), dairy (including plant milks), non-ruminant livestock (chicken, fish and pork), and ruminant livestock (lamb and beef).

The data clearly shows that grains, fruits and vegetables have the smallest carbon footprints, followed by nuts and beans. For example, producing one kilogram of beef emits 150 times more greenhouse gas than one kilogram of onions.

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