WASHINGTON -- The Agriculture Department says a statement on its website encouraging its employees not to eat meat on Mondays was made without proper clearance.

The posting earlier this week was part of an internal newsletter that discusses how staff can reduce their environmental impact while dining at the agency's cafeteria.

The newsletter referred to United Nations data that cites animal agriculture as a major source of greenhouse gases and climate change.

USDA spokeswoman Cortney Rowe says the department does not endorse the "Meatless Monday" initiative, which is part of a global public health campaign.

The agency removed the posting hours after the National Cattlemen's Beef Association denounced it in a news release. The USDA often promotes the beef industry by encouraging Americans to eat meat.

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