USDA official draws attention to the high-quality protein in beef and the benefits of consuming it in adequate quantities
San José, Costa Rica, 11 October 2018 (IICA). “Certain recommendations issued for health reasons are not sufficiently objective and must therefore be analyzed and discussed. Red meat consumption does not produce illnesses, but its excessive intake negatively affects health. In excess, any food can be detrimental - even water.”
This was one of the thoughts shared by David Klurfeld, National Program Leader for Human Nutrition of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), during National Beef Day in Costa Rica.
The lectures delivered by the U.S. specialist and Miguel Arvelo, Representative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in Costa Rica, were the highlight of the celebration, which was held for the second time in the country. The event sought to raise awareness among Costa Ricans of livestock farming and its economic, social and environmental contributions, as well as to underscore the nutritional benefits of beef consumption for the population.
During the event, organized by the Livestock Corporation (CORFOGA) and IICA, Klurfeld also stated that “according to some research studies, red meat consumption is harmful for human health. However, they often fail to acknowledge the coexistence of other factors, such as a high Body Mass Index, a sedentary lifestyle, or a low intake of fruits and vegetables by individuals participating in these studies.”
“Protein in beef is of a high quality, because it contains vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients for human health. Many nutrition experts agree with me, but they do not publicly express their agreement,” he explained.
On the other hand, Arvelo noted that global meat consumption is expected to increase by just 1.1% to 1.4% by 2025; as a result, the meat sector must continue to adopt a comprehensive approach to managing livestock farming, that includes adequate soil, water and risk management; genetic improvement; and climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, among other things. “Bioeconomy and circular economy are two new approaches for the meat sector,” he stated.
Arvelo added that, in this respect, Costa Rica has set a positive example for other countries in the region by developing a Strategy for Low-Carbon Livestock Farming. The strategy fosters climate-smart agriculture that contributes to increasing sustainable productivity as well as the ability to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change, through knowledge management and innovation.
Meat scenario in Costa Rica
CORFOGA, a non-state-owned public entity established 20 years ago by national law - and which is now the head of the Central American Beef Sector Federation - has estimated that beef production in Costa Rica amounts to 73,000 tons a year, and that each person consumes about 14 kilograms of this product per year.
“Today we reflect on the course we wish to follow over the next two decades. We are currently in the process of developing a new National Strategy for Livestock Farming. To this end, we are working closely with the academic sector and public institutions such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), the National Animal Health Service, the State Phytosanitary Service, the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade of Costa Rica, and the Ministry of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica,” stated Luis Diego Obando, Executive Director of CORFOGA,.
On the other hand, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica, Bernardo Jaén, lauded the work carried out by the Livestock Corporation for the benefit of this sector. “CORFOGA has been driving beef production in Costa Rica for some time; as a result, it is being called upon to serve as the leading organization in this sector,” he stated.
In Costa Rica, National Beef Day is observed on October 5 each year. It was declared an activity of public interest by Law No. 7837. The second staging of this event included lectures on the benefits of consuming beef as well as various food tastings.
Leonardo Murillo, head of the Research and Dissemination Department of CORFOGA
Sacha Trelles, Technical Coordinator of the IICA Delegation in Costa Rica