Procedia Food Science 5 ( 2015 ) 235 – 238
2211-601X © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Peer-review under responsibility of scientific committee of The 58th International Meat Industry Conference (MeatCon2015)
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
International 58th Meat Industry Conference “Meat Safety and Quality: Where it goes?”
Meat production and consumption: Environmental consequences
, Vesna Djordjevic
, Dragan Milicevic
, Ivan Nastasijevic
Institute of Meat Hygiene and Technology, Kacanskog 13, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Meat production is projected to double by 2020 due to increased, per capita global consumption of meat and population growth.
The livestock sector is one of the most significant contributors to urgent environmental problems. In Europe, food consumption is
responsible for approximately 30% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Meat generally has a considerably higher carbon
footprint than plant-based food. This is especially true for beef, due to the emissions of methane (CH
) from enteric fermentation
© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Peer-review under responsibility of scientific committee of International 58th Meat Industry Conference “Meat Safety and
ality: Where it goes?” (MeatCon2015)”.
Keywords: meat production; gas emissions; environment; eco-efficiency; pollution; prevention
The environmental impact of meat production varies because of the wide variety of agricultural practices
employed around the world. Some of the environmental effects that have been associated with meat production
are pollution through fossil fuel usage, and water and land consumption. Pre-farm production and transport of inputs
to the farm, are most importantly feed and fertilisers, but also fuels, pesticides, growth substrates, pharmaceuticals,
machinery, buildings and other capital goods; On-farm processes: soil emissions, emissions from enteric
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +381-11-2650-655; fax: +381-11-2651-825.
E-mail address: email@example.com
© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Peer-review under responsibility of scientific committee of The 58th International Meat Industry Conference (MeatCon2015)
236 Zoran Petrovic et al. / Procedia Food Science 5 ( 2015 ) 235 – 238
fermentation in animals, emissions from manure management, emissions from energy use on fields, in greenhouses,
in animal houses; Post-farm processes: slaughtering, processing and pack
aging, storage and refrigeration, transport
2. Global trends in overall meat consumption
According to a report from the Worldwatch Institute (WI), global meat production and consumption continues to
rise (Fig. 1a). Meat production has tripled over the last four decades and increased 20 percent in just the last 10
years. Industrial countries are consuming growing amounts of meat, nearly double the quantity in developing
World beef production is increasing at a rate of about 1 percent a year, in part because of population growth but
also because of
greater per capita demand in many countries (Fig. 1b). The largest fraction of the greenhouse effect
rom beef production comes from the loss of carbon-dioxide (CO
) absorbing trees, grasses and other year-round
plant cover on land where the feed crops are grown and harvested. Second most important is the methane (CH
given off by animal waste and by the animals themselves as they digest their food
When considering the future of sustainability, the outline of the food syste
m is a critical aspect. An understanding
of the factors that influence meat and fish consumption is important for developing a sustainable food production
and distribution system
. This is especially the case because the importance of the food system as a driver of global
environmental change can be expected to increase
. National dietary patterns not only have ecological and economic
development contexts, but also a regional/cultural context. Food consumption patterns, particularly meat and fish
nsumption, have serious consequences for environmental sustainability
Fig. 1. (a) World Meat Production 1961-2010
; (b) World Beef Production
3. Livestock and methane emissions
Beef and dairy farming operations produce the greatest amount of CH
from human-related activities
methane generated by ruminant production systems and its effects on global climate change is a cause for concern
. In the United States, CH
comprised 14% of the total greenhouse gas 6 emitted in 2007 and 7% of this
methane was due to agriculture
. In an analysis of the EU-27countries, beef had by far the highest GHG emissions
with 22.6kg CO
. The consumption of meat, dairy and eggs is increasing worldwide
, and this will
aggravate the environmental impact related to livestock production
Human dietary changes could produce a cascade of effects, t
hrough reduced production of livestock and manure,
lower feed demand, resulting in lower nitrogen (N) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and freeing up
ltural land for other purposes
. Cultured meat (i.e., meat produced in vitro using tissue engineering
techniques) is being developed as a potentially healthier and more efficient alternative to conventional meat. In
Zoran Petrovic et al. / Procedia Food Science 5 ( 2015 ) 235 – 238
comparison to conventionally produced European meat, cultured meat involves approximately 7–45% lower energy
use (only poultry has lower energy use), 78–96% lower GHG emissions, 99% lower land use, and 82–96% lower
ater use, depending on the product compared
. Despite high uncertainty, it is concluded that the overall
environmental impacts of cultured meat production are substantially lower than those of conventionally produced
4. Eco-efficency and pollution prevention control in meat processing
Eco-efficiency is a concept being adopted by industries
world-wide as a means of improving environmental
performance and reducing costs. Its objectives are the more efficient use of resources and the reduction of waste,
with the two-fold benefits of reduced environmental burdens and reduced costs for resources and waste
The main resource inputs are water, energy, chemicals and pack
aging materials. These are typical of many food
processing sectors. The main resources consumed and wastes generated at a meat plant and the approximate
quantities for a typical plant are presented in Table 1
. However, meat processing plants use very large quantities of
water and energy. This is due to the highly perishable nature of the product, the need for high levels of sanitation
and the need to keep the product cool.
The main waste streams are wastewater and some solid waste. Much of the solid waste produced is organic and is
suitable for land-based disposal. The wastewater from a slaughterhouse can contain blood, manure, hair, fat,
eathers, and bones. Quantities of solid waste disposed to landfill are relatively small
The wastewater may have a high temperature, and m
ay contain organic material and nitrogen content. The meat
industry has the potential for generating large quantities of solid waste and waste waters with a biochemical oxygen
) level of 600 mg/l (this can also be as high as 8,000 mg/l) or 10 to 20 kilograms per metric ton (kg/t)
of slaughtered animal and suspended solids level of 800 mg/l and higher, as well as, in some cases, offensive
Table 1. Resource use and waste generation data for a typical meat plant
Resources use Daily quantity Per unit of production
Water 1,000 kl/day 7 kl/tHSCW
Energy Coal 8 t/day 53 kg/tHSCW
LPG 113 m
/day 0.8 m
Electricity 60,000 kWh/day 400 kWh/tHSCW
Cleaning chemicals 200 l/day 1.3 l/tHSCW
Wastewater treatment chemicals 30 kg/day 0.2 kg/tHSCW
Oils and lubricants 30 l/day 0.2 l/tHSCW
Cardboard 5 t/day 31 kg/tHSCW
Plastic 150 kg/day 1 kg/tHSCW
Strapping tape 105 kg/day 0.7 kg/tHSCW
Waste generation Daily quantity production
Wastewater Volume 850 kl/day 6 kl/tHSCW
Organic matter (COD) 5,700 kg/day 38 kg/tHSCW
Suspended solids 2,055 kg/day 13.7 kg/tHSCW
Nitrogen 255 kg/day 1.7 kg/tHSCW
238 Zoran Petrovic et al. / Procedia Food Science 5 ( 2015 ) 235 – 238
Phosphorous 90 kg/day 0.6 kg/tHSCW
Paunch and yard manure 7 t/day 47 kg/tHSCW
Sludges and floats 6 t/day 40 kg/tHSCW
Boiler ash 0.7 t/day 5 kg/tHSCW
Cardboard 95 kg/day 0.6 kg/tHSCW
Plastic 10 kg/day 0.07 kg/tHSCW
Strapping tape 2 kg/day 0.01 kg/tHSCW
*Hot Standard Carcase Weight (HSCW) describes the weight of animal carcases after slaughter, dressing and evisceration and prior to chilling
and boning. For beef it is generally 55% of live weight. This unit is useful because it takes into account the variations in live weight between
different species and different plants.
Current production of meat has been shown to have a signi
ficant impact on the environment and also on current
GHG emissions. Meat consumption has been increasing at a significant rate and is likely to continue to do so into
the future. This paper consisely reviewed how increased demand, leading to more economically efficient meat
production systems, could potentially affect GHG production and local environment.
In regard to prevention, pollution decisions should be m
ade with regard to the proceses that generate waste.
Process integration and installation of new equipment provide a framework for cost-effective pollution prevention
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