THE NSA has welcomed the swift action from the three British levy bodies to persuade a children’s TV programme to change its message about the need for meat in a healthy, balanced diet.

An open letter from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Meat Promotion Wales (Hybu Cig Cymru) was sent in response to CBBC Blue Peter’s Green Badge campaign, which included the message to children to replace red meat dishes with 'climate-friendly' plant-based alternatives.

In the letter, the boards said: "As a public service broadcaster, the BBC has a responsibility to provide an impartial argument. This is all the more important when communicating to children.

"It is essential that young people learn and understand where their food comes from and its impact on the planet. The British red meat industry is amongst the most sustainable in the world and supports the livelihoods of thousands of people."

As a result, the BBC changed the criteria it uses to encourage children to be environmentally-friendly, updated its message about healthy diets and added that local grass-fed meat can also make a difference to climate change.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “The BBC is highly influential ordinarily, and Blue Peter plays a big role in shaping the opinions and actions of young people.

"It is irresponsible and misleading that it should give biased and incorrect guidance to this important social group and I am grateful for the work done by our GB levy bodies to correct this at the earliest opportunity.

"Some damage will have been done and I hope the lesson learned will filter through the BBC so they give a more balanced, accurate, and fair position through all their media outlets.”

NSA Cymru/Wales development officer Helen Roberts said: “NSA Cymru is pleased to see a swift response from Blue Peter following the joint letter from the levy Boards. As Hybu Cig Cymru points out, our farming has a much more positive story in terms of sustainability that should be heard and taken on board.”

NSA Scottish Region coordinator Grace Reid added: “It is imperative that there is a fully rounded understanding of food by all generations but particularly the children who are increasingly making their own decisions on what to eat. We need to ensure the correct information is available and is representative of both red meat and plant-based farming practices occurring on a daily basis.”

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