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Scandinavia Today / Sweden


Meat tax proposed in Sweden to reduce heavy meat consumption and improve sustainability

Tuesday, 22 January 2013
The Swedish board for agriculture is proposing seeking the government to imposing taxes on beef in order to reduce the amount of beef consumed in Sweden. But the Swedish finance minister, Anders Borg believe that taxing beef is a lame idea.

Reports hold that the Swedes are some of the highest meat eaters in the EU and more of the meat into the Swedish meat market is imported from abroad, mostly from the EU according to Swedish Board of Agriculture in a release today. It thus proposes a carbon tax on Swedish meat consumers so as to reduce the amount of beef consumed in Sweden.

According to statistics on means consumption, it shows that the Swedes love beef and they eat an average of more than 25 kg per person per year, which is several kilos more than the EU average. The report today from the board of Agriculture called for sustainable meat consumption and highlights the eating of meat to be reduced. One way of meeting that goal is for the government to impose a tax per kilogram of means consumed.
Meat tax
Sweden has slackened its leadership on the fight for environmental protection unlike a few year ago when it was said that meat, especially beef, accounted for a significant proportion of food consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. There have also been several scares about the view that increasing meat consumption is not sustainable. Yet meat eating continued to increase. Last year, the total meat consumption per person was accounted to stand at about 87 kg.

"Our forecast for this year says 85 kg of meat will be consumed, so it is positive. But it is also the first time since the 90s that we see a decrease," says Gabriella Cahlin from the Swedish Agric Board.

One reason why much meat is eaten in Sweden is rooted in tradition, and the Swedish people's financial position which is relatively good thus affordability. There is also good food trend that emphasizes eating meat and barbeques.

But research shows that high consumption of red meat, which basically means all the meat coming from animals on four legs, increases the risk of certain cancers.

The Swedish Finance Minister, Anders Borg is not particularly interested in a "meat tax". Speaking from Brussels while attending the EuroFin meeting, Mr Borg told reporters that 
"I think you should be careful about how to use the tax system. We have a carbon tax and it works well. We'll do a reconciliation of climate policy after 2015 and we have already said that we are prepared to take away some of the exceptions contained in the carbon dioxide tax, for it is better the more unified it is. To then have a special arrangement to meat area, I do not think is good. "

Another authority commented that "probably there is the need to reduce meat consumption but it should not be done in a way that does not puts extra burden of consumers and Sweden should not be seen as a country that taxes everything. There are ways of managing such issues without being bullish of financial incentives or penalties."
by Team

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