Currently browsing posts about: Soft drinks
Remember New York State Governor David Paterson’s idea about taxing sodas to raise funds for health care? According to news accounts, New York State Governor, David Paterson, now says his proposal to tax sodas is just a rhetorical device. He didn’t really think it would ever pass. He just wanted people to talk about how to do something to prevent childhood obesity. Chalk this one up as a win for soda companies?
Update February 19: here are Kelly Brownell’s thoughtful comments on the matter.
Thanks to Jack Everitt for forwarding an article from Reuters U.K. about the FDA’s recent warning to Coca-Cola. Coke Plus, says the FDA, violates the Food and Drug Act. Food companies are not allowed to add vitamins and minerals to sugary carbonated water (or jelly beans) just so they can be marketed as healthy.
OK, but Coke Plus is not exactly a secret. How come the FDA waited to do this until this “midnight” period just before a new administration takes over? And how come, asks Jack, do we have to “hear about this from a UK newspaper, rather than a US one. Just like with the last election, we now have to rely on out-of-the-country news sources.”
Let’s hope the FDA is a high priority for Obama. It should be!
I have an op-ed (about the FDA’s handling of melamine in U.S. infant formula) and a Food Matters column (answering questions about salt) in the San Francisco Chronicle this week, and a response to a question from Eating Liberally about Governor Paterson’s proposed tax on soft drinks. Enjoy!
Here’s the proposed statute. The relevant section reads:
“Create Sales Tax on Soft Drinks. Imposes an additional 18 percent rate of sales and compensating use taxes on fruit drinks that contain less than seventy percent of natural fruit juice and non-dietetic soft drinks, sodas and beverages. By increasing the price, it will discourage individuals, especially children and teenagers, from excessive consumption of these beverages. Revenues will be directed for health care initiatives.”
And here’s the American Beverage Association’s predictable response: hurts the middle class, nobody wants it, no science or logic behind it. The New York Times refers to what’s happening as a “spirited debate” (I am a participant).
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. For example, the maker of a carbonated juice drink wrote me to complain that her product, which is 50% juice and taxable, contains under 70 calories per 8-ounces in comparison to non-taxed 100% fruit juice at 110 calories/8 ounces. Obesity is about calories, no? Or is it really about the kinds of products people habitually drink?
Andrew Martin begins his account of the latest Pepsi quarterly report like this: “Tap water is making a comeback. That’s bad news for PepsiCo’s profits.” Sales are down 10%. Why? People aren’t buying as much soda or bottled water. Score one for the environmental movement.
The Environmental Working Group says the plastic bottles are bad for the environment but that’s not all. Its latest report tests the waters and finds plenty of fertilizer and drug residues in them. Oh great.