By Greg Argos

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Researchers in Great Britain say a red meat tax could save hundreds of thousands of lives a year — more than 53,000 in the United States alone. But if you like to grab a burger or an Italian hoagie for lunch, it could cost you.

If enacted, the proposal could increase meat prices by more than 150 percent.

Philadelphia is a city known for its grub.

It’s star player: perhaps the cheesesteak with wiz.

But what if, like sodas, that famous sandwich also came with a tax?

“We’d have major problems,” one Philadelphia man said. “We charge, right now, $11. We’d have to go up to $15 or $16 a steak.”

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Forget the meat sweats, researchers at Oxford University in Great Britain are proposing a global meat tax.

“A lot of customers won’t be eating,” one woman said.

“The industry would probably go down,” echoed another.

Researchers say it would save 220,000 lives a year and cut health care bills by $41 billion. The studies done by the World Health Organization links red meat — especially the processed variety — to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, strokes and diabetes.

If enacted, the proposal could increase meat prices by more than 150 percent.

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Robert Passio is the owner of Giuta’s Butcher Shop in the Reading Terminal Market. He believes a red meat tax is absurd and points out there are health benefits to chewing down on your favorite steak.

“Beef is high in iron,” he said. “That by itself is a benefit.”

The key, he says, is not overdoing it.

“It’s all in moderation,” Passio says. “No one says you have to eat red meat every night.”

Researchers did distinguish between highly-processed meats, like salami and bacon, and unprocessed meats, like steak. They suggest both should be taxed, but at much different rates.