An animal rights organisation says the Ministry of Health's (MOH) new eating guidelines don't go far enough when it comes to promoting a plant-based diet.
SAFE NZ has hit out at the MOH's updated recommendations, which urge Kiwis to eat "moderate amounts of animal-based foods" such as eggs, dairy, poultry and seafood.
"While it's great the new guidelines stress the importance of sustainable diets, the new changes don't go far enough," SAFE campaigns officer Kylie Dale said.
"We're disappointed that this update has increased the recommended number of daily servings of dairy products."
The eating guidelines recommended the intake of milk and milk products - mostly low and reduced fat - as part of a balanced diet. Men aged up to 70 should have 2.5 servings a day, and 3.5 for over-70s. Women up to 50 are urged to have 2.5 a day, rising to four for over-50s.
"Milk and milk products are highly nutritious and contain protein, vitamins and minerals," the guidelines say.
"Specific vitamins include riboflavin, vitamins A, D and B12, while minerals include calcium, phosphorus, zinc and iodine."
The MOH recommended the use of non-dairy milk alternatives, but warned that these alternatives lack nutrients found in cows' milk such as vitamin B12 and riboflavin.
SAFE says dairy is one of the main sources of saturated fat in the average New Zealand diet.
"The new eating guidelines already recommend a mostly plant-based diet. In 2021 it's never been easier to substitute dairy with healthier, climate-friendly alternatives," Dale said.
"We would like to see the eating guidelines incorporate the health and environmental benefits of choosing fortified non-dairy alternatives."