Tax Junk Food Not Meat, Jury Says

A tax should be used to shift people away from ultra-processed foods rather than to make meat more expensive, according to a panel of experts.

A simplistic tax on all meat is too blunt a policy tool, according to a jury at an event convened by the Food Ethics Council to scrutinise the idea of a UK meat tax.

Representatives from the NFU and the Sustainable Food Trust challenged the idea that a meat tax was necessary and inevitable to address the health and environmental issues associated with its consumption, arguing that eating meat in moderation can have nutritional value, while sustainable livestock production can have benefits for people and the environment.

Arguing in favour of a meat tax, representatives from the University of Oxford and the Institute of Development Studies gave evidence of the negative health impacts of consuming processed and ultra-processed meat, which include higher mortality rates and cardio-vascular disease.

Read the full story – Footprint

New Zealand targets agricultural emissions in climate change bill

New Zealand’s government will introduce legislation to tackle climate change on Wednesday which includes a target for cutting methane emissions from livestock by at least 10 percent by 2030.

The agriculture sector slammed the bill as a threat to one of the largest contributors to New Zealand’s economy, though environmentalists say it is also a major polluter.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has set a goal for the country to be carbon neutral by 2025, said on Wednesday the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill is a “landmark action” on climate change.

The bill treats methane emissions from animals differently than other greenhouse gas emissions, but still targets a 10 percent reduction in biological methane by 2030, and a reduction of up to 47 percent by 2050.

Carbon emissions would be reduced to net zero by 2050, according to the legislation.

full story – Reuters

Praveen Menon

Tyson Foods expects to profit from hog fever in China, warns it may hit U.S.

Tyson Foods Inc said on Monday that the U.S. meat processing industry could reap significant financial gains from a global shortfall in pork as an incurable hog disease spreads rapidly across Asia.

Tyson projected its U.S. pork, chicken and beef units could all benefit from increased demand linked to outbreaks of African swine fever, after the Arkansas company reported quarterly profits above analysts’ estimates.

The disease, which is fatal to pigs but harmless to humans, has been detected in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Africa and parts of Europe.

With African swine fever in China, the world’s top hog producer, about 5 percent of the global protein supply has disappeared as demand is rising, Tyson Chief Executive Noel White said.

China is expected to import more protein to make up for its hog deaths, which White estimated at 150 million to 200 million pigs. The losses could help Tyson by pushing up pork prices and prompting consumers to buy more chicken and beef as alternatives, he said.

full story – Reuters

Tom Polansek

Disease to cut China pig meat output by at least 10 percent: FAO

An African Swine Fever outbreak is expected to cut China’s pig meat output by at least 10 percent in 2019 and present opportunities for producers elsewhere, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said on Thursday.

The shrinking of the world’s largest hog herd will have a noticeable impact on meat and feed markets worldwide, with more than one million pigs culled in China so far in an effort to halt the contagion, the FAO said in a food outlook report.

“With the sharp decline in pig inventories, the exponentially rising (feed) import trend , especially of soybeans over the past two decades could come to an abrupt halt,” the FAO report said.

full story – Reuters

Nigel Hunt

LIVESTOCK-U.S. hog futures extend setback on U.S.-China trade tensions

U.S. lean hog futures touched their lowest prices in about two months on Tuesday on concerns over elevated trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Traders are worried that a resolution to the U.S.-China trade war may be farther off than previously expected, after U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprise statement on Sunday that he would raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent.

U.S. pork producers want an end to the dispute because China’s purchases of American pork have slowed since Beijing raised duties on imports from the United States to 62 percent last year.

full story – Reuters

Tom Polansek

How new plant-based burgers compare with beef

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are among the companies racing to tap into the massive US market of meat eaters by more closely mimicking the taste of beef than vegetarian patties of the past. Others are working to grow meat in labs.

Are they healthier?

As with many questions about diet, it depends. For better or worse, patties from Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods can be nutritionally similar to beef.

Beyond Meat’s 4-ounce (113g) patty is listed at 270 calories, while Impossible Foods’ is listed at 240 calories. Ground beef’s nutritional profile can range, but a similarly sized patty with 80 per cent lean meat has about 290 calories.
Protein content is about the same, while other nutrients vary. Some may like that the plant-based patties have fiber, but dislike that they’re higher in sodium.

full story – Financial review

Candice Choi

China’s pig ‘Ebola’ outbreak ‘will move markets, influence geopolitics’ for years to come

A minor outbreak of African swine fever among some 400 pigs in Shenyang in northeastern China is now threatening the global food supply chain and may increase pork prices for years.

Despite a mass cull, a blockade to prevent any further transmission and a government declaration that the outbreak of the particularly nasty strain of swine fever had been “effectively controlled,” China, the country with half of the world’s pigs, failed to stop the spread of the disease in time. Domestically, this contagion is already massive: China has a $128 billion pork industry and is third-highest global consumer of pork.  

full story –