Beverage Industry Slams Dem's Soda Tax: 'Gov't Can't Legislate Healthy Lifestyles'

August 5, 2014 - 10:16 AM

The soda industry responded to Rep. Rosa DeLauro's (D-Conn.) introduction of the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax (SWEET Act), which aims to institute a tax of one cent per teaspoon - 4.2 grams - of sugar, high fructose corn syrup or caloric sweetener.

"Government can't legislate healthy lifestyles," the American Beverage Association (ABA) says, noting that soda taxes have also been widely unpopular with Americans.

"The soda tax is an old idea that has gotten no traction in federal government, states and cities across the U.S.  People don't support taxes and bans on common grocery items, like soft drinks," ABA Senior Director for Public Affairs Christopher Gindlesperger tells MRCTV.

"Over the past several years, approximately 30 states and cities across the country have proposed or introduced beverage taxes. All have failed," ABA says.

"This Act is intended to discourage excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by increasing the price of these products and by creating a dedicated revenue source for programs and research designed to reduce the human and economic costs of diabetes, obesity, dental caries, and other diet-related health conditions in priority populations," the soda tax bill says.

But, as ABA points out, obesity of young Americans is up 69% since 1994 - even though calories in Americans' diet from added sugar in sodas is down 39% since 2000 and average calories per serving has dropped 23% since 1998. And, total beverage calories in schools are down a whopping 90% since 2004.

What's more, a CDC (Centers for Disease Control) study shows that food accounts for twice as many calories from added sugar as beverages (67% vs. 33%).

"We are focused on meaningful solutions that help address the complex problem of childhood obesity. Working with First Lady Michelle Obama, President Bill Clinton, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and others, we have voluntarily removed full-calorie soft drinks from schools nationwide, placed calorie labels on all of our packaging as well as on vending machines, supported community programs that promote balanced diets and physical activity and much more," ABA's Gindlesperger says.