Taxing Red Meat Shows Potential to Save Lives

By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

According to new research, increasing the tax for red meat would save many lives as well as raise billions to pay for healthcare. It discovered that the cost of processed meat like bacon and sausages would double if the harm they cause to people’s health was considered.

Governments all over the world have already taxed harmful products with the goal of reducing their consumption. Products included in the taxation are sugar, alcohol, and tobacco. With the increasing evidence of the health and environmental damage from red meat, some experts now believe that a “sin tax” on beef, lamb, and pork will be inevitable in the longer term.

Back in 2015, the World Health Organization declared processed red meat a carcinogen, and unprocessed red meat like steaks and chops have a probability of being carcinogens as well.

But in rich countries, red meat consumption surpasses the recommended amount, and is also linked caused to heart disease, stroke, and even diabetes.

The new research studied the level of tax needed to reflect the healthcare costs that will pile up when people consume red meat. It discovered a 20% tax on unprocessed red meat and a 110% tax on more harmful processed products.

As a result, the higher prices is predicted to cut meat consumption by two portions a week. This would lead to a $41 billion saving in annual healthcare costs.

The new research is published in the journal Plos One. It uses a standard economic approach called “optimal taxation” to calculate the tax rates by using the healthcare costs incurred by going beyond the proper amount of red meat consumption to the set the tax rate, rather than the total healthcare costs accumulated by all the read meat people eat.

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Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Patricia Taculao, or Patty as she likes to be called, is a content producer for Manila Bulletin Digital Lifestyle. She graduated from University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She loves to spend her free time, reading, painting, and watching old movies.

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