A tax on red meat

Red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork are a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals and can form part of a balanced diet. But eating a lot of red and processed meat can increase your risk of bowel cancer.

An article in the UK newspaper, The Daily Telegraph reported last month of research which concluded that a ‘Meat Tax’ which would almost double price of sausages should be brought in to save lives.

The research team that carried out the study were from University of Oxford in the UK and the International Food Policy Research Institute in the US.

Researchers have also worked out the likely health and economic cost of eating red meat and processed meat. Both types of meat have been linked to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as cancers of the digestive system, such as bowel cancer.

The researchers looked at how introducing a tax to increase the price of meat might affect consumption, deaths and economic costs. They estimated taxes would need to be highest in high-income countries like the US and the UK, while they could be much lower in less wealthy countries.

In the UK that would mean a price increase of about 13% on red meat and about 79% on processed meat. Researchers say this would translate to about a 22% drop in deaths and nearly a 19% drop in healthcare costs linked to processed meat consumption.

The principle behind the suggestion is that many people eat far more red and processed meat than is recommended and higher prices might mean some people choose to switch to a less meat-heavy diet.

The current advice, says adults who eat more than 90g of red and processed meat a day should reduce their intake by about 1/3. You can do this by eating these meats less often, eating smaller amounts or exchanging them for alternatives.

My conclusion

Although there is an ethical element to this and we should be doing more to save animals, rather than eat their meat, it’s a fact that processed meats are bad for us.  I think it’s important for us all to consider what we put into our mouths and ask ourselves if eating red and processed meat is really necessary?

Not only is it unhealthy for us, we’re harming livestock that in the process will help us sustain our own lives, as part of the ecosystem we all occupy.

Source: https://www.nhs.uk

16 Dec, 2018

6 thoughts on “A tax on red meat

  1. I almost killed my stomach eating too much red meat. So now I prefer more healthier foods, instead of every delicious looking thing I make eye contact with.

    But there’s problem embedded in the meat tax solution; poverty. Healthier foods are way too expensive for many.

    1. Thanks Tim. Yes, I used to think the same as you, but my mind was changed when I watched a documentary proving that eating healthy isn’t such a costly exercise.

      By the time the show finished, those families taking part we’re complete converts. Cutting their weekly shop came down to how and where we shop.

      I stopped eating meat proteins many years ago, because it was making me ill. But since then and through my writing I have been become more passionate about animal welfare and wanting to save animals.

      Animals form part of the same ecosystem as us. Animals survival helps our survival too. But there is one thing for sure, we must reduce the amount of red meat we consume if we are to cut down on illness.

      That’s a good enough reason to give it up.

  2. The biggest dilemma people don’t seem to understand is that it’s more expensive to eat healthy food, which is kind of ridiculous when you think about it.

    They can put all kinds of taxes on red meat, but the chances are that it won’t change things unless they work on bringing the prices down on the healthier foods too.

    I would love to be able to eat healthier, but since I was raised on a diet of cheap processed meats and foods, the taste isn’t the same.

    I will have to figure out a way to enjoy eating foods that are better for me, probably starting with spending more time with someone who doesn’t eat a lot of red meat.

    I have high blood pressure issues now. Since I turned 50, it’s one of many things that I have to work on changing.

    1. Thanks Randy. I know how much better I feel, how much more energy I have cutting out red and processed meat.

      It might be something for you also to consider. As you say it will be good for you to figure out a way to enjoy eating foods that are better for you, because that will help with your high blood pressure. Perhaps your girlfriend might cut down too.

      I also believe our lifestyles have become somewhat full on the things we probably don’t need that could go into our weekly shop. Cutting our weekly shop comes also often comes down to how and where we shop.

  3. Eating healthily can be expensive, so people do have a tendency to turn to cheaper foods with less nutritional value and which can be harmful long term. Not eating healthily means we are just creating a more expensive long term health problem funded by the state.

    It’s all down to the manufacturers to get people to successfully change eating habits by producing more healthy food, but they also need to look again at the costs, so that people can afford to buy their food.

    Parents and school alike must also educate children about food choices. The reality is that people will naturally choose what they can afford to eat without making sensible decisions about other expenses in their daily lives and which could positively impact on their health.

    1. Thanks. Yes, you’re absolutely right but I do think we must take more care about ourselves.

      We would rather look to our vices than think about the food that we eat. I also think lifestyle plays a big part, but again we’re not honing in on how we live our lives.

      If we looked at our lifestyles, incorporated much healthier choices, we would do the same with our food and if we cut down on wines, beer and cigarettes more, we would have more money for food.

      I have been in grocery stores, where people have added more wine and beer to their trolleys than food. I also think this is the government’s way of getting us to eat more healthy foods.

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