Should there be a tax on red meat?

Katie Grant     7 hours Tuesday November 6th 2018   
 


	
		
						Sir Lenny Henry calls for tax breaks to improve diversity in film and	
	
		Culture

The study, which looked at the impacts of taxing red and processed meat, calculated that a tax could prevent more than 220,000 deaths globally in a year, and save more than $40 billion in health care costs. With reduced consumption of red meat, the study, published on November 6, claims there would be 220,000 fewer deaths from chronic disease per year around the world.

The study suggested a tax of 20% on unprocessed red meat and 110% on processed products, with lower taxes in less wealthy nations, would cause fewer deaths and raise almost €150 billion, and save money for health services.

But while the move may be unpopular, one student on Twitter said they would cut down on the amount of meat she now buys if the tax came into effect.

In order for a meat tax to be effective in Britain, the cost of red meat would need to rise by 14%, and processed meat by 79%, scientists found.

Scientists at the University of Oxford say governments should consider imposing price hikes on red meat - such as beef, lamb and pork - to reduce consumption.

Dr Marco Springmann, of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food and the Nuffield Department of Population Health, who worked on the study, said: "The consumption of red and processed meat exceeds recommended levels in most high- and middle-income countries".

"A health levy on red and processed meat would not limit choices, but send a powerful signal to consumers and take pressure off our healthcare systems".

While some welcomed the proposal on Twitter, others told HuffPost UK they're unconvinced, raising concerns that a meat tax would penalise the poorest in society and not necessarily lead people towards healthier choices.

And eating lots of red meat doesn't just have an impact on your own health.

The World Health Organisation has classified beef, lamb and pork as carcinogenic.

Increased rates of coronary heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes have also been associated with eating red meat.

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While another added that a meat tax sounds regressive.

As a result, consumption of unprocessed meat was predicted to remain unchanged by 2020.

Globally the benefits of a meat tax included a 16% reduction in processed meat consumption, and the prevention of 222,000 deaths from cancer, heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.

In addition, an estimated 3,800 deaths related to obesity would be prevented, the study found.

In the United Kingdom, an effective meat tax that offset healthcare costs would prevent 5,920 deaths per year amounting to a reduction in the number of deaths attributed to eating meat of 15.6%. In October, scientists reported that huge reductions in meat eating are essential to avoid risky climate change, including a 90% drop in beef consumption in western nations.

The researchers have called on the Government to consider the tax, but readers told HuffPost UK this would unfairly raise food costs for low-income families, without providing cheap, healthier alternatives.

In the USA, the tax might result in people eating three fewer portions of red, processed meat each week.

"Red meat provides valuable nutrients, such as iron, zinc, vitamin D and B vitamins".

By now you've probably heard that eating too much red and processed meat is bad for you.

Fans of the Great British breakfast may end up having to put their money where their mouth is, with several of the core components - bacon, sausages and black pudding - likely to be affected by a hefty tax on processed meat.

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