Monday, June 12, 2006

Doctors call for 'fat tax' on Coca-Cola and Pepsi | the Daily Mail

Doctors call for 'fat tax' on Coca-Cola and Pepsi | the Daily Mail

Doctors will this week declare war on America's soft drinks industry by calling for a 'fat tax' to combat the nation's obesity epidemic.

Delegates at the powerful American Medical Association's annual conference will demand a levy on the sweeteners put in sugary drinks to pay for a massive public health education campaign.

They will also call for the amount of salt added to burgers and processed foods to be halved.

The moves come as U.S. doctors - like their British counterparts - are becoming increasingly alarmed at the growing number of deaths linked to obesity.

The resolution will put doctors on a collision course with Coca-Cola and Pepsi, plus the likes of McDonald's and Burger King.

Sales of soft drinks in U.S. schools are in decline ahead of the introduction of guidelines allowing only healthier low-calorie drinks, plus milk and certain fruit juices, over the next two years.

But the medical association wants to go further. Delegates at its Chicago conference are gunning in particular for high fructose corn syrup, the sweetener which is added to everything from ketchup to cola.

One American politician labelled it the 'crack of sweeteners' because it is so widespread.

Some U.S. cities and states already levy taxes on soft drinks or junk foods that raise £500million a year, said Michael Jacobsen, director of the Centre for Science and the Public Interest, an independent health watchdog. But earmarking tax revenue for programmes promoting better diet would be a first, he added.

First they came for the smokers, and I said nothing, because I was not a smoker...

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