Experts examine impact of red, processed meat trade on diet-related NCDs

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Both exporters and importers must urgently undertake cross-sectoral actions to reduce the meat trade’s negative health impacts

Rapid increase in the trade of global red and processed meat impede international efforts toward sustainable diets by increasing meat consumption. However, little research has examined cross-country variations in diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) because of meat trade.

A recent study, from the US & Austria, aimed to examine the impact of red and processed meat trade on diet-related NCDs and to identify which countries are particularly vulnerable to diet-related NCDs due to red and processed meat trade.

Results show that global increase in red and processed meat trade contributed to the abrupt increase of diet-related NCDs, and the attributable burden of diet-related NCDs had large geographical variations among countries.

Over the period from 1993 to 2018, island countries in the Caribbean and Oceania were particularly vulnerable to diet-related NCD incidents and mortality due to large meat imports. In addition, countries in Northern and Eastern Europe have exceedingly increased attributable death and disability-adjusted life year rates via meat imports.

To prevent unintended health consequences due to red and processed meat trade, future interventions need to integrate health policies with agricultural and trade policies by cooperating with both responsible exporting and importing countries.

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