A meat tax could save thousands of lives and slash healthcare costs, according to researchers

Nov 12, 2018
12:07 A.M.

If a global “meat tax” is on the works, the result could lead to saving the lives of 220,000 and cutting health bills by $41 billion yearly, as revealed in a new study.


The study based the results by connecting meat consumption with the accelerating risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

The World Health Organization announced in 2015 that red meat, including beef, lamb, and pork, are carcinogenic when digested in processed forms, such as bacon, ham, and sausages.

They also revealed that steak and burgers could potentially be carcinogenic as well.


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Other examples of carcinogens are cigarettes and alcohol. They have now been regulated to prevent increasing cases of chronic disease.

An estimated rate of tax needed to reduce the health care costs linked to red meat consumption was released by a team of researchers from the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University led by Dr. Marco Springmann.


Speaking with CNN, he said, "The least intrusive form of regulation is a tax to raise prices and reduce consumption.”

The researchers suggested that the UK government should have a tax of 79% on processed meat like bacon, and 14% on unprocessed meat like steak.

As for the US, the equivalent numbers would be 163% and 34% respectively.

"The tax is higher in the US due to an inefficient health system that wastes a lot of money," explained Springmann.


In addition to the tax rate, the team also considered calculating the estimated impact on death rates caused by chronic disease. If meat tax would be allowed which would result in reduced red meat consumption, the study claimed that there would be 220,000 fewer deaths from chronic disease worldwide.

Also, the world would save up to $41 billion on health care costs if the meat tax would be implemented.


Now, many governments throughout the globe had been entertaining the idea of putting a higher tax on products that cause health problems, such as alcohol, cigarettes, and sugar.

Meanwhile, reports revealed that there is evidence to prove that consumption of processed red meat is linked to bowel cancer and having a higher risk of stomach cancer.

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