Meat and dairy foods should have a climate tax and all products need labels showing the environmental impact of producing them, according to a group of leading medical organisations who have called for such measures to be instated by 2025 to cut the impact of food industries on the planet.
The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, which includes the British Medical Association, ten Royal Colleges of medicine and nursing and medical journal the Lancet, said the climate crisis cannot be stopped without a huge reduction in the amount of high-emission foods such as meat eaten around the world.
“We can’t reach our goals without addressing our food system,”said the Faculty of Public Health’s Kristin Bash, who co-authored the UKHACC report. “The climate crisis isn’t something we should see as far in the future. It’s time to take these issues seriously now.”
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Fighting the climate crisis goes hand-in-hand with improving the nation’s diet, the organisations said, as the UK consumes too much meat and just one in three people eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. The report recommended an immediate end to buy-one-get-one-free offers for unhealthy food in a bid to tackle both issues.
“Today you can walk into a shop and buy something with an environmental impact many times higher than another food, and have no idea you have done so,” said the University of Oxford’s Joseph Poore.