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The most damaging products for the environment

The most damaging products for the environment

Our diet has an obvious impact on the environment. By selecting the products that we buy, cook and consume, we can reduce the daily damage we cause to the climate, natural spaces, water or the lives of the rest of the animals that inhabit the planet.

Foods to Avoid, for the Good of the Environment

At the very least, what we can do is avoid or reduce the consumption of the most harmful products:

Beef cattle

As in all ruminants, digestion by cows produces large amounts of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases. A cow can generate up to 300 liters of methane per day.

The massive cattle raising is also associated in many countries with deforestation. Unscrupulous meat industrialists encourage the burning of large tracts of forests and jungles, for example in the Amazon, to raise cows and produce cheap meat. Only extensive organic farming would be saved from this criticism. Small-scale ranching and grazing can help maintain rural populations and the balance of natural habitats.

Pork Meat

If the analysis focuses on water pollution, especially in large areas of Catalonia and the rest of Spain, the unfortunate leadership of environmental impact must be given to the production of pork. The slurry (organic waste) that is generated in pig farms is difficult to manage and in many cases reaches the environment causing contamination by nitrates of surface waters (rivers, lakes) and underground. The vast majority of areas in Catalonia where there are pig farms, for example, have their sources and wells contaminated and unused for human consumption.

Butter, milk and cheese

The massive production of milk, butter, cream, cheeses and other fatty derivatives of livestock are the basis of many of the exploitations of this type of farm animals. Farms that are built in areas of great natural value from deforestation are responsible for large emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (from burning trees) and the aforementioned methane. Also in this case, it must be recognized that organic farming causes less serious environmental impacts.

Palm oil

In a country like ours (with good quality olive oil at our fingertips), palm oil should be a dispensable product. On a global scale it is more difficult because the oil extracted from the Elaeis guineensis palm is the second most consumed in the world (after soybean oil). An important part of these crops have led to the destruction of large forest areas and the disappearance of natural habitats of such important and unique species as orangutans, as continues to occur in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Prawns, prawns and the like

In general, we do not ask for information about the origin of the products we consume. In the case of crustaceans, this information is very important if we are concerned about the survival of highly valuable and fragile ecosystems such as mangroves. The massive capture of prawns in Thailand (the world’s third largest exporter of fishery products) has meant for years the destruction of large areas of these coastal areas in which trees and their roots form networks in which various forms of animal and plant life proliferate. If we find crustaceans on the market with abnormally low prices, we can suspect a toxic origin, not only because they may have their origin in remote areas where unhealthy aquaculture practices are applied, but because they can be linked to the destruction of nature and the child labor exploitation.


In some countries, Mexico, for example, avocado production has become not only an environmental problem (land occupation, overexploitation of aquifers …) but also a reason for serious social conflicts, violence and human exploitation. In a broad environmental vision, avocado can also be considered as the paradigm of crops with a serious carbon footprint, since much of the consumption takes place thousands of kilometers from the point of cultivation. Something similar could also be said for a long list of tropical fruits (pineapple, mango, kiwi and even banana).

Foie (foie gras)

If our environmental concern is focused on the defense of animal welfare, it is evident that the most radical and effective thing we can do is stop eating meat and associated or derived products. If we are not convinced of going veganism, at least what we can do is outright reject meat foods associated with practices such as forced fattening of ducks, geese and geese. The human palate is truly adaptable to cultural diversity, but, viewed coldly, eating the sickly fatty liver of a bird forcibly gorged – for months – on dubious quality food shouldn’t appeal to anyone.


In addition to rejecting or reducing the indicated products as much as possible, we can put into practice other tips that also help the environment:

1. Have a diet based mainly or exclusively on foods of plant origin.

2. In the case of consuming meat, reduce the consumption of red meat and processed meat-based products as much as possible.

3. Prefer local foods (produced near the point of consumption) and seasonal.

4. Reduce food waste.

5. Consume fish only if it comes from reserves or sustainable food production.

6. Limit foods and drinks with added sugar as much as possible.

Source: Bio Eco Actual


Escrito por:
AOA Chile