Meat tax Health experts are calling for a meat tax - Media Credit: Adobe. Do not use without permission

Taxing Meat And Eating More Plant-Based Protein Could Help Save Planet, Say Health Experts

The comments came in a report by the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change which looked at the impact of meat on public health and the planet

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A coalition of U.K health experts says people should eat more plant-based protein to help the planet and human health.

The comments came in a report by the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC). Authors called the report All-consuming: Building A Healthier Food System For People And Planet.

It offers a raft of other proposals on cutting food emissions like a meat tax. They also included ideas like ending buy-one-get-one-free offers on unhealthy food that is bad for the planet. Another was adding climate info labels on food.

Meat

The report points out that 20 percent of the U.K’s emissions result from food production and consumption. It adds ‘half of these are related to imports (largely through feed crops and the related deforestation), rather than the food that we produce here’.

“As well as shifting to more sustainable food production, we will need to substantially reduce – by 50 percent – the amount of food lost and wasted along the food supply chain, from production to consumption,” it adds.

Red meat

It’s important to note that ‘as the biggest driver of deforestation, agriculture therefore has a significant impact on the planet’s ability to capture and sequester atmospheric carbon’. 

Therefore, red meat consumption must be slashed in half ‘if the food system is to stay within sustainable environmental limits’.

Publish health is also a concern. The reports adds there’s ‘clear evidence’ that replacing animal protein with plant-based protein could improve public health. It says red meat reduction is linked to lower rates of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and overall death rates’.

Meat tax

When it comes to the meat tax suggestion, the report says: “Fiscal incentives have proven effective in changing behavior and the so-called ‘Sugar Tax’ demonstrates that it is possible to develop such mechanisms in relation to food. 

“The Government should signal that it intends to move in this direction if voluntary action on the full climate impact of food products is not taken by the food industry by 2025, with a food carbon tax to be levied on all food producers according to the carbon footprint of their products.”

Climate crisis

Kristin Bash, a co-author of the UKHACC report, said: “We can’t reach our goals without addressing our food system.

“The climate crisis isn’t something we should see as far in the future. It’s time to take these issues seriously now.”

Plant-based protein

Acacia Smith is policy manager for food system NGO The Good Food Institute Europe.

She said: “This authoritative report is absolutely right to call for increased consumption of plant-based proteins to tackle climate change and improve people’s health.”

However, she said, the government must invest in plant-based alternatives like meat, dairy and more. Consumers should not bear the sole responsibility.

She added: “These products deliver the flavors and textures people are used to, with better health outcomes and a fraction of the environmental impact.” 

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The Author

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the former editor for Plant Based News. She has been a newspaper reporter and features writer. Her work has been published by The Guardian and The Huffington Post, among others

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Rowland Ross
Rowland Ross
1 year ago

The title of this article is somewhat misleading since the original Paper recommends a “carbon tax” on food production not a meat tax. This means that the CAFO system of meat production would be taxed heavily as would also the production of grains, pulses and oilseeds etc. particularly in the light of the alarming recent findings re nitrous oxides effect on global warming, 74% of which comes from fertiliser used in arable agriculture. The production of meat from non supplementary fed livestock is carbon neutral, in the case of livestock used for the regeneration of spent arable land, it becomes carbon net, and should therefore be exempt from taxes. I would suggest that the report by UKHACC is simplistic in the extreme and seems to be supported by mostly medical groups with little input from genuine agronomists, ecologists and land management specialists. I would also suggest that with a world population of 7 billion plus with most of the meat being produced byCAFOs that a reduction of 50% which they recommended is way of the mark. The comments from The Good Food Institute should be taken with a pinch of salt, since their aim seems to be the promotion of meat substitutes.

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