Oxford university red meat tax plan ‘too simplistic’ says packaging firm spokesman
18 Jun 2019
Oxford University claims that a tax on red meat would benefit sustainability and public health are wide of the mark, counters a spokesman from leading food packaging firm Advanta.
Miguel Campos, the firm’s export sales manager, said the plans would increase the cost of red meat by a fifth and the price for processed red meat by 100%.
He queried claims attributed to the institution suggesting a health tax on red and processed meat could prevent more than 220,000 deaths and save the equivalent of $40 billion in healthcare costs annually.
“Would pre-marinated beef steaks be put in the same category as hot dogs just because of added ingredients? Health-wise, these products are worlds apart. Categorising them as the same is punishing innovation in a sector that bolsters the economy, with little gain to public health,” stated Campos.
“The potential tax is proposed primarily from a health perspective, which is debatable considering good quality red meat eaten in moderation can be an excellent source of iron, vitamin B12 and other nutrients. Some studies have found links between red meat consumption and negative health effects, but it’s important to remember that correlation does not equal causation.”
Would pre-marinated beef steaks be put in the same category as hot dogs just because of added ingredients? Health-wise, these products are worlds apart
Miguel Campos, export sales manager, Advanta
He also took issue with assertions that a tax could cut greenhouse gas emissions in red meat production, citing suggestions that pasture-fed ruminants “are in the long run carbon neutral, or close to it”.
Moreover, taxing red meat consumption would make consumers switch to poultry instead – “which, unlike pasture-reared red meat, is almost always reared on unsustainable feeds”.
“The red meat tax is arguably far too simplistic and generalising. While the approach works well for plastic, where cause and effect are as clear as our oceans used to be, the red meat debate is more complex,” claimed Campos.
Whether the red meat tax is put in place or not, taking plastic out of the food supply chain could have a far greater impact on the environment than reducing red meat intake.