Sausages – bacon and other staples of the full English breakfast should have their prices raised by up to 80 per cent to prevent nearly 6,000 deaths a year and save the NHS more than £734m – according to a new study.
Raising taxes on red and processed meats enough to offset their cost to the health service could prevent hundreds of thousands of cancers – heart attacks and strokes – University of Oxford researchers said.
Globally this would mean 220,000 fewer deaths a year and savings of $40bn (£30.6bn) if every country adopted a tailored levy based on their current levels of meat eating – they added.
In the UK the ‘optimum’ tax would see red meat products cost 14 per cent more – while processed foods would rise by 79 per cent – enough to raise the price of a cooked breakfast by 54 per cent – according to The Independent’s analysis.
Other wealthy nations should be taxed even more heavily to offset their costs – the study published in the journal PLOS One suggests.
The proposals come after the World Health Organisation International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that cured, smoked and other processed meats cause cancer and the same was ‘probably’ true for red meat – which has also been linked with cardiovascular disease.
This has led to calls for meat to be taxed in a similar way to cigarettes – alcohol and other harmful luxury products.