Taxing red meat would save many lives, research shows | Environment | The Guardian

Damian Carrington Environment editor@dpcarrington Tue 6 Nov 2018 13.00 EST

The cost of bacon and sausages would double if the harm they cause to people’s health was taken into account

A ‘sin tax’ on on meat products such as beef, lamb and pork is inevitable in the longer term, say some experts. Photograph: Holger Burmeister/Alamy

Taxing red meat would save many lives and raise billions to pay for healthcare, according to new research. It found the cost of processed meat such as bacon and sausages would double if the harm they cause to people’s health was taken into account.

Governments already tax harmful products to reduce their consumption, such as sugar, alcohol and tobacco. 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 World Health Organization declared processed red meat to be a carcinogen in 2015, and unprocessed red meat such as steaks and chops to be a probable carcinogen. However, people in rich nations eat more than the recommended amount of red meat, which is also linked to heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

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