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Red meat tax could save thousands of lives but faces backlash

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Red meat tax could save thousands of lives but faces backlash

Red meat tax could save thousands of lives but faces backlash
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Reuters
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A tax on meat could prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths every year, according to scientists at the University of Oxford.

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.

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 nearly €150 billion, and save money for health services.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned of processed meats such as bacon, sausages, and ham causing cancer in 2015.

However, many on social media voiced their outrage about yet another on food products.

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The study calculated red meat levies for 149 different countries, with the tax rate depending on how much red meat those citizens eat and the costliness of their healthcare system.

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

For the UK, it was estimated that 6,000 lives could be saved every year if a 14% on red meat and 79% of processed meat were imposed.

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. This is having significant impacts not only on personal health, but also on healthcare systems, which are taxpayer-funded in many countries, and on the economy, which is losing its labour force due to ill health and care for family members who fall ill."