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Seeing red

Another week, and another proposed tax being tossed in the direction of the food industry.

Hot on the heels of the sugar levy comes an announcement that a hard-hitting ‘meat tax’ could prevent almost 6,000 deaths each year in the UK, and save the economy more than £700 million in healthcare costs.

Globally, meat taxes could save an estimated 220,000 lives by 2020 and reduce healthcare costs by more than £30 billion, a study has found.

The research is based on evidence linking consumption of meat such as beef, lamb and pork to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

Scientists set out to calculate the level of health tax needed to make up for healthcare costs associated with eating meat in 149 regions around the world.

In the UK, the ‘optimal’ tax level increased the cost of red meat by 14 per cent and processed meat by 79 per cent.

Despite the huge impact on the price of burgers, sausages, mince and steak, the scientists behind the study have called on governments around the world to consider imposing such taxes.

Say what?

Yes, it’s great to have a healthy population. But isn’t it equally important – if not more so – to have a happy population?

After all, aside from all the supposed health risks linked with the consumption of red beef, what about the harm that stress can cause? Isn’t that a killer too?

If a burger and beer, or even steak and a glass of wine, help put a smile on people’s faces at the end of a difficult week, surely that will do more good for the wellbeing of the nation than trying to deprive it of such simple pleasures.

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