Red Meat, Meat Alternatives, and Beyond

Speakers (left to right): Bill Clark, Nicole Negowetti, Francesca Dominici, Graham Colditz, Frank Hu, James Hamblin, Marjie McCullough, Nicole Tichenor Blackstone, and Eric Rimm (moderator). Not pictured: Walter Willett and Dean Michelle Williams.

In 2019, meat—of all types—seemed to dominate much of the news coverage on food and health. Controversial guidelines around red and processed meats made headlines, while countless publications examined the new wave of plant-based meat alternatives being marketed as a way to accelerate the shift from industrial animal agriculture. Designed to closely recreate the taste and experience of eating meat, products from brands like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat drew interest from a broader consumer base than earlier alternatives targeted at a vegan or vegetarian demographic.

But can these innovations engineered from plants really be part of a healthy and sustainable diet? And what about the developing area of lab-cultured meats seeking to grow familiar products from cells, rather than produce them from the animal itself?

These were just some of the overarching questions informing the Department of Nutrition’s January 2020 symposium, which explored both red meat and meat alternatives in context of broader challenges for conducting, implementing, and communicating public health research, policy, and guidelines.

Recordings of the symposium’s presentations and panel discussion questions are embedded below.

Red Meat, Meat Alternatives and beyond: health, environment, policy, and the media. A symposium exploring red meat, plant-based meat, and lab-grown meat in context of broader challenges for conducting, implementing, and communicating public health research, policy, and guidelines. Opening Remarks: Dean Michelle A. Williams ● Moderator: Eric Rimm, Harvard Chan School ● Speakers & Panelists: Nicole Tichenor Blackstone, Tufts University ● William Clark, Harvard Kennedy School ● Graham Colditz, Washington University in St. Louis ● Francesca Dominici, Harvard Chan School ● James Hamblin, The Atlantic ● Frank Hu, Harvard Chan School ● Marjorie McCullough, American Cancer Society ● Nicole Negowetti, Harvard Law School ● Walter Willett, Harvard Chan School.


Red Meat, novel meat alternatives, and public health guidance
Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD

Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology; Chair, Dept. of Nutrition, Harvard Chan School

Writing about nutrition research: the responsibility of authors, editors, and journalists
James Hamblin, MD, MPH
Staff writer, The Atlantic; Lecturer, Yale School of Public Health

Issues with Annals of Internal Medicine red meat systematic reviews and guidelines
Walter Willett, MD, DrPH
Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard Chan School

Environmental impacts of meat production and meat alternatives
Nicole Tichenor Blackstone, MS, PhD
Assistant Professor in the Division of Agriculture, Food, and Environment at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University

Red and processed meats and cancer risk
Marjorie McCullough, ScD, RD

Senior Scientific Director, Epidemiology Research, American Cancer Society

The role of observational evidence in developing public health policies and guidelines
Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH, MPH
Niess-Gain Professor of Surgery and Division Chief, Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine; Deputy Director, Institute for Public Health, Washington University in St. Louis

Environmental science and public health under siege
Francesca Dominici, PhD
Clarence James Gamble Professor of Biostatistics, Population and Data Science, Harvard Chan School

Regulatory, policy, and food system applications of red meat and meat alternatives
Nicole Negowetti, JD
Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor, Harvard Animal Law and Policy Clinic, Harvard Law School

Linking knowledge with action: practical guidance for scientists who want their research to have (appropriate) influence
William Clark, PhD
Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy and Human Development, Harvard Kennedy School

Panel Discussion

Discussion and Q&A with speakers, moderated by:
Eric Rimm, ScD
Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard Chan School

Discussion: Regenerative agriculture

Discussion: Grass-fed beef vs. industrially-produced beef

Discussion: Red meat and dietary guidelines

Discussion: Red meat and school lunch guidelines

Discussion: Can the term “dietary guidelines” be protected?

Discussion: Science, political influence, and conflicts of interest

About the Speakers & Panelists