Call for 79% health tax on sausages and bacon

Henrietta Strickland
November 8, 2018

The new research looked at the level of tax needed to reflect the healthcare costs incurred when people eat red meat.

Media captionDr Marco Springmann tells Today eating one portion of red meat a week could help tackle global warming How could a tax work? Red and processed meat is also linked to higher rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

We estimated that in 2020, there will be 2.4m deaths attributable to red and processed meat consumption globally, as well as US$285 billion in costs related to healthcare.

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 the United Kingdom, they said the "optimal" tax level to reduce consumption would increase the cost of red meat by 14% and processed meat by 79%.

The report stated that 220,000 lives would be saved annually if a tax were slapped on red meats such as beef, lamb, and pork, which would lead to a drop in consumption.

We calculated so-called optimal tax levels that would account for the health costs of red and processed meat in close to 150 countries and regions around the world.

He said: 'I hope that governments will consider introducing a health levy on red and processed meat as part of a range of measures to make healthy and sustainable decision-making easier for consumers.

Our findings make it clear that the consumption of red and processed meat has a cost - not just to people's health and to the planet - but also to healthcare systems and the economy.

'Nobody wants governments to tell people what they can and can't eat.

"A tax on red meat would be a retrograde step, both for overall diet quality in women and girls and for health inequalities".

The benefits of reducing red meat consumption also go beyond reducing rates of disease and health care costs. With growing evidence of the health and environmental damage resulting from red meat, some experts now believe a "sin tax" on beef, lamb and pork is inevitable in the longer term.

The proposed taxes would result in a 16% reduction in the processed meat eaten around the world, the scientists estimated, which would cut the greenhouse gas emissions from livestock by 110m tonnes per year.

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%. That would amount to a reduction in the number of deaths attributed to eating meat of 15.6%.

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. The US would have among the highest tax rates, with a 163% levy on ham and sausages and a 34% levy on steaks.

Red meat is, as the name suggests, any meat that is red in colour when uncooked.

Meat tax price hikeHow much would a United Kingdom meat tax be?

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. "Informs consumers and gives them the choice". One way to reduce that impact would be a meat tax, which we would welcome, but another option would be to address the subsidies now given to animal farming. "Meat does not contain fibre, whereas beans, peas and lentils are fibre-rich and they can count as one of your five-a-day".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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