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Edible Myths?

A recent article documented the amount of water needed in California to produce one edible pound of:

  • Tomatoes (23 gallons)
  • Lettuce (23 gallons)
  • Potatoes (24 gallons)
  • Wheat (25 gallons)
  • Carrots (33 gallons)
  • Apples (49 gallons)
  • Eggs (544 gallons)
  • Chicken (815 gallons)
  • Pork (1630 gallons)
  • Beef (5214 gallons)
Task: Determine if these statistics are right...or are they driven by a poltical agenda? That is, try to build your own chart of "valid" statistics.

Example: The BeefFromPastureToPlate.org argues that such data are myths and counteracts them with other data. For example, it focuses on the "myth" that the amount of water needed to produce 1 pound of wheat is 25 gallons, while 2500 gallons of water is needed to produce 1 pound of beef. Their argument: According to statistics compiled by the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Kansas State University, the yield of wheat from irrigated land averages about 3 bushels per acre inch of water (27,168 gallons). So it actually takes 151 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat six times more than the amount this claim suggests. Considering all factors in beef cattle production including direct consumption, irrigation of pastures and crops, and carcass processing, it takes 435 gallons of water to produce a pound of boneless beef, according to the CAST 1999 Animal Agriculture and Global Food Supply Report.

My Note: There is a big difference between 5214 gallons and 435 gallons! So who is correct?