“All around the country, public health officials are recognizing soda’s contribution to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease and are working on policies aimed at reducing consumption of sugar drinks,” said Center for Science in the Public Interest executive director Michael F. Jacobson.
“We are winning,” said Jim Krieger, director of chronic disease and injury prevention at Seattle and King County’s public health department. “Consumption of soda is decreasing. Why? Through effective public awareness campaigns and the growing movement to remove soda from schools, childcare sites, government property, hospitals and work places. We need to build on this momentum and ultimately we must tax sugary drinks to discourage consumption—identifying them as an unhealthy product and using the revenues to promote health.”
TK: Is this the type of issue that United Fresh and Produce Marketing Association should embrace? Industry associations aren’t typically wired that way, to oppose another food sector, even if that sector doesn’t merit their regard. So let’s call the federal soda tax idea what it is - an extreme longshot.
Still, here are questions that should be answered with clarity before a soda tax makes sense for the country, and for the industry:
1. Would a restriction on soda sales to food stamp recipients work better?
2. What level of tax is necessary to reduce current and future obesity?
3. How will tax revenue be used to improve fruit and vegetable consumption?