AHDB’s Media and PR team, with the support of internal and industry stakeholders, works to challenge misinformation in the press, social media, and advertising. As well as encouraging balanced reporting through sharing facts about British agriculture and the challenges of sustainable food production. The below outlines some of the claims we've challenged and how we work with the media.
Following Oxford County Council's proposal to make all public catering plant-based, AHDB responded with an open letter to highlight the environmental impact of British livestock farming and it's role within a healthy diet.
Head of Environment Dr Jonathan Foot spoke of BBC Radio 4's PM programme (19 mins in) about how British livestock farming is becoming more sustinable.
AHDB contacted the BBC about its article 'The people moving from high to low carbon careers' in which global figures about the carbon footprint of the global dairy industry and claims about the impact of a vegan diet were made. Changes were made by the BBC to bring UK data and context to the carbon emisisons of dairy farming, as well as the evidnece around the real impact of going vegan.
Head of Environment Dr Jonathan Foot spoke at COP26, highlighting the absence of reliable and comparable data within carbon reduction reporting. As well as the need across all industries and sectors for standardised reporting to be able to measure any progress towards Net Zero targets.
Featuring AHDB’s strategic farmer David Barton, AHDB worked with Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped team on its COP26 special to ensure accuracy and provide further information.
AHDB contacted the BBC to highlight that greenhouse gas emissions cited in its latest climate article were global and not UK based, the article was amended.
AHDB made a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority regarding two Meatless Farm adverts. The adverts did not make approved health claims as required under ASA codes and, following a review, the ASA agreed and asked Meatless Farm to remove all uses of the adverts.
In response to an article in The Times, AHDB, Dairy UK, and the NFU wrote an open letter to outline the inaccuracies in the article on the use of antibiotics in UK livestock, as well as highlighting the sustainability credentials of the UK dairy industry.
AHDB wrote to The Daily Express following the article ‘Would you put these milks in your tea?’, to highlight that British milk is among the most sustainable in the world.
Following the release of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, AHDB lined up Professor Liam Sinclair from Harper Adams University to speak on Farming Today about his research on how feed additives can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in cattle.
AHDB challenged a number of claims within The Independents ‘4 ways going vegan can help the planet’, highlighting inaccuracies in wording and comparisons. As a result, The Independent amended wording to reflect the scientific evidence accurately.
After the BBC reported on meat production shortages and quoted The Vegan Society, which made claims about meat and livestock reduction, AHDB emailed the BBC to ask the relevance of the contribution. AHDB was invited to put forward a statement and any additional information to bring balance and context.
AHDB responded to the National Food Strategy.
Head of Environment Dr Jonathan Foot spoke at the Westminster Forum to outline how the UK’s agriculture sector can help deliver the changes required to land use (as set out by the UKCCC) and reach the Government’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Blue Peter retracted its ‘go meat free’ pledge as part of its ‘climate heroes’ campaign, following an open letter from AHDB, HCC and QMS, calling out its flawed science and lack of balance, and the BBC’s failure in its role to educate and impartiality
AHDB contacted Quorn following the launch of its social media campaign which featured videos from well-known footballers. In the videos, the claim “livestock emit more carbon than transport” was made, which is incorrect. Quorn agreed to stop using the videos and corrected claims on its website.
AHDB challenged two claims made on Oatly’s website; what we eat has the biggest impact on the planet, and livestock emit more carbon than transport. After correspondence with Oatly, both claims were changed to reflect the facts, that scientific evidence shows other lifestyle factors have a much greater impact on the planet than diet, and like for like comparison shows livestock do not emit more carbon than transport. Following 109 complaints, the ASA ruled these adverts were misleading.
A formal complaint was made by AHDB to the Advertising Standards Authority against a Surge Activism campaign, claiming that going vegan is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on earth. As scientific evidence shows, other lifestyle factors have a much greater impact on the planet than diet, the advert is no longer to be used.
If you see something you’d like our team to investigate, please email it to email@example.com with as much information on when and where you came across it.
If you’d like to learn more about AHDB’s work to challenge misinformation, you can read AHDB’s Head of Media and PR, Phil Maiden’s blog.