Knowledge for better food systems

Tax ultra-processed foods, not simply meat, says jury

A jury-style event hosted by the UK’s Food Ethics Council finds that a meat tax is too simplistic. The event saw four “expert witnesses” give evidence on the impacts of meat and sugar taxes, the environmental impacts of grazing livestock, and the health impacts of consuming processed and ultra-processed meat.

The jury found that a tax on ultra-processed meat, possibly extended to all ultra-processed foods, might be more effective at maximising health benefits than a blanket tax on all meat types. The jury suggested that the revenues from such a tax could go towards helping people on low incomes eat a healthy diet and supporting farmers in the transition towards healthy, sustainable food systems.

Read more here. See also the Foodsource chapter What is a healthy sustainable eating pattern?

Read a Guardian piece by Julian Baggini, one of the jurors at the event, here: A tax on red meat? That won’t save the planet – or do much to improve our health.

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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