Pressure to factor climate change into national dietary guidelines, extending the role beyond health and disease prevention, is ramping up across the globe and nutritionists warn red meat will likely be a casualty.
Beef industry people are watching closely how the review of the Australian Dietary Guidelines is playing out, against a backdrop of increasing calls for affluent societies to significantly cut red meat consumption in the name of the environment.
The science is far from supportive of any case for limiting beef and lamb in Australian diets as a climate change solution - lamb is carbon neutral and beef has a target of being carbon neutral by 2030.
However, there is concern that the anti-meat lobby is pouring plenty of resources into influencing government dietary measures and using environmental sustainability as a means of gaining traction.
The current ADGs, which recommend eating 65 grams of lean, cooked, unprocessed red meat a day, were issued in 2013.
The update process is now at the evidence review stage. A draft will be put forward for public consultation before the revised guidelines are published. The timeline for that is 2026.
The latest international study to make a case for government action on diets to address climate change is an investigation by the United Nation's Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen.
It's report, called Appetite for Change, argues that progress has been slow in addressing nitrogen use efficiency using agricultural practices alone.
Released in December, the report concluded a combination of halved meat and dairy consumption, with improved farm and food chain management, would achieve a 49 per cent decrease in nitrogen losses with the highest score for net societal benefit.
The research looked at full exclusion of meat and dairy products from human diets and found, in combination with other on-farm measures, that could reduce nitrogen waste by up to 84pc.
However "this scenario did not offer net societal benefit when the environmental benefits were offset against the stringency of actions needed," the report said.
Leakage of reactive nitrogen from food systems threatens the environment and human health by causing air, water and soil pollution, while contributing to climate change and biodiversity loss.
The Lancet has also published a global review which found already 17pc of the world's population is covered by dietary guidelines that make mention of environmental sustainability.
Most of that messaging was in background documents rather than consumer-facing.
"We suggest that food-based dietary guidelines should provide more specific information that addresses the what, why, how, and quantity aspects of the guiding principles, and be included in both consumer and background documents," the authors wrote.
"To achieve the extent of transformation to food systems needed to curb the accelerating environmental decline globally, more countries need to commit to developing FBDGs that explicitly emphasise the crucial link between diet and planetary health."