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USDA does not endorse ‘meatless Mondays’ campaign

The Agriculture Department issued a statement today that it does not support the “Meatless Mondays” campaign after an article encouraging people not to eat meat on Mondays was posted online in a newsletter promoting environmental awareness, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association issued a news release denouncing it.

“USDA does not endorse Meatless Monday. The statement found on the USDA website was posted without proper clearance and it has been removed,” the USDA communications office said in an email to reporters in the late afternoon.

Earlier today, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President J.D. Alexander said the statement in USDA’s July 23 “Greening Headquarters” newsletter that embraced the “Meatless Monday” concept “calls into question USDA’s commitment to U.S. farmers and ranchers.”

NCBA included a link to a USDA article that said “one simple way to reduce our environmental while dining at our cafeteria is to participate in the ‘Meatless Monday’ initiative.”

After USDA sent out its statement, the link to a PDF of the newsletter no longer worked, although The Westerner blog, written by former New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Frank DuBois, had already captured the language and posted it.

NCBA issued a later statement that it appreciated USDA’s announcement that it does not support the Meatless Monday campaign.

“USDA did right by scrapping this statement and acknowledging the important role of America’s farm and ranch families in providing food for the world,” the NCBA statement said. “USDA denouncing support of the Meatless Monday campaign is an important step in correcting misinformation about the safety and sustainability of U.S. beef production.”