Enough chewing the fat, UK politicians: we must stop eating so much red meat | Marco Springmann

Enough chewing the fat, UK politicians: we must stop eating so much red meat | Marco Springmann

British diets are as bad as ever, so policymakers must find ways to reduce harm to our health and the planet

It was reported this month that meat consumption in the UK has decreased by 17% over the past decade, and even Prince Charles has urged people to stop eating meat and dairy products on certain days of the week. Although still considered a contentious subject by policymakers and the public, there is strong scientific consensus that high meat consumption is extremely harmful to us and the environment. What could be seen as welcome news should really be taken as a call to action for decisive policymaking that prioritises the health of British citizens and the planet.

Despite the headlines, British diets are as bad as ever. The new data on self-reported intake suggests that, on average, every citizen consumes one serving of meat every day of the week, including four servings of red and processed meat. Meaningful policy support is required to make healthy and sustainable diets accessible, affordable and appealing for all of the British population.

Dr Marco Springmann is a senior researcher in population health at the University of Oxford

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