Would cigarette-style warning labels on meat really work?


DURHAM, United Kingdom — Graphic warning labels on meat merchandise, just like these on cigarette packages, might cut back meat consumption by 10 p.c, a brand new examine suggests. Scientists in the UK imagine that such labeling might improve public well being and decrease that nation’s carbon footprint.

Researchers from Durham College found that labels warning shoppers about meat manufacturing’s detrimental influence on local weather change had been the simplest and deemed essentially the most credible. Moreover, warnings about well being dangers and the potential improve in pandemics additionally contributed to decreased meat consumption. The examine discovered that these labels led to a seven to 10-percent lower within the number of meat dishes.

A current survey signifies that almost three-quarters (72%) of the U.Okay. inhabitants establish as meat eaters. The impartial Local weather Change Committee, an advisory physique to the U.Okay. authorities, recommends lowering meat and dairy consumption by 20 p.c by 2030.

Within the examine, 1,001 meat-eating adults had been divided into 4 teams. Every group was proven photos of scorching meals sometimes present in a restaurant, labeled with both a health warning, local weather warning, pandemic warning, or no label in any respect. Every warning label included a graphic picture and accompanying textual content.

For instance, the climate warning label featured a picture of a deforested space with manufacturing facility smoke within the background, alongside the textual content – “WARNING: Consuming meat contributes to local weather change (UN Meals and Agricultural Group, 2020).”

The climate warning label showing an image of a deforested area with factory smoke in the distance and the warning text - WARNING: Eating meat contributes to climate change (UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, 2020).
The local weather warning label reveals a picture of a deforested space with manufacturing facility smoke within the distance. (Credit score: Hughes et. al.)

“Reaching net zero is a precedence for the nation and the planet,” says Jack Hughes, a doctoral pupil from the College’s Division of Psychology, in a media release. “As warning labels have already been proven to reduce smoking in addition to consuming of sugary drinks and alcohol, utilizing a warning label on meat-containing merchandise might assist us obtain this if launched as nationwide coverage.”

Contributors had been requested to make 20 separate meal choices whereas researchers gauged their reactions to the labels, measuring how anxiety-inducing and plausible they discovered them. Additionally they assessed the meal’s attraction and whether or not members would buy it once more. Moreover, members indicated their degree of assist for implementing these labels as nationwide coverage.

The meal choices introduced embody a meat pasta bake, a fish pasta bake, a vegetarian pasta bake, and a vegan pasta bake.

“We already know that consuming a number of meat, particularly purple and processed meat, is dangerous to your well being and that it contributes to deaths from pollution and local weather change. Including warning labels to meat merchandise might be one approach to cut back these dangers to well being and the setting,” says Dr. Milica Vasiljevic, the paper’s senior creator.

The examine is printed within the journal Appetite.

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South West Information Service author Jim Leffman contributed to this report.

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