Yesterday, the fabulous Representative Rosa DeLauro (Dem_CT) introduced the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act of 2014 (SWEET Act). Here’s a quick summary of the bill. The SWEET Act (you have to love the name) would put an excise tax of one cent per teaspoon of sugars (a teaspoon is about 4 grams). The bill is clearly aimed at sugary drinks, which account for about half of total sugar intake. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines (page 29),
- Sodas, energy, and sports drinks account for 35.7% of total sugars
- Fruit drinks—a category that does not include 100% juices—account for another 10.5%.
- Sugar-sweetened teas account for 3.5%.
The tax ought to raise about $10 billion a year, and is earmarked for programs to combat soda-related disease. It also ought to further reduce consumption of sugary drinks, as is already happening in Mexico. If you would like to endorse this legislation, contact Kelly.Horton@mail.house.gov in Representative DeLauro’s office. References
- DeLauro Press Release
- CSPI’s Press Release
- Mark Bittman’s July 30 discussion of the bill in the New York Times
- The Prevention Institute’s endorsement
- Reuters’ report
- Food-Navigator.com’s report
- The Hill’s story plus video
- The American Beverage Association statement