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  #1   ^
Old Thu, May-30-19, 23:07
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Default Chief medical officer considers recommending tax on unhealthy food

From BBC News
London, UK
30 May, 2019

Chief medical officer considers recommending tax on unhealthy food

England's chief medical officer says she is considering recommending a tax on unhealthy food to persuade parents to buy more fresh fruit and vegetables.

Prof Dame Sally Davies has been asked to urgently review what more can be done to meet the government's target of halving childhood obesity by 2030.

Ideas include a tax on added sugar in baby food and on high-calorie food such as pizzas and cakes.

The food industry has always said taxes would not change consumer behaviour.

Dame Sally told BBC News she was going to be "as bold as I can be", while maintaining she was not "anti-fun".

Following research linking ultra-processed foods - such as chicken nuggets, ice cream and breakfast cereals - to poor health and early death, Dame Sally said they could be targeted in her review.

And based on the success of the tax on sugary drinks introduced in April 2018, she said fiscal measures could be used in other ways to help families live healthier lives.

"I want parents to be incentivised to buy healthy food," she said. "We need to make sure that fresh fruit and vegetables are cheap.

"Maybe we have to subsidise them by charging more, by taxing unhealthy food.

"Parents are then nudged to buy the healthy version because it's cheaper."
But she said any plans still had to be worked out.

"I want the basket of food parents buy not to cost any more," she said.

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has commissioned Dame Sally to produce a report by September, with a series of recommendations for the government.

She said experts on nutrition, science and public health and representatives from the food and drink industry would all be asked to contribute their ideas.

When asked why yet another strategy on cutting childhood obesity was required, she said she regretted the process "taking so long".

"I should have chivvied harder to get us there faster," she said.

But she said public consultations had to be done properly, and that took time.

"I, as an independent adviser, do wish we could do things faster," Dame Sally said.
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  #2   ^
Old Fri, May-31-19, 09:21
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GRB5111 GRB5111 is offline
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To levy a tax for safety that works, and that's what this is, you'd have to get agreement on what is the definition of "good" foods before you tax "bad" foods. Now, that's a trick! Tobacco users didn't stop because of a tax, it's too addictive to have more than a small influence. It was the severe health issues and the real prospect of cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and, later, COPD that really got the attention that using tobacco was maybe not a wise thing. There was no disagreement on that. In terms of a nutritionally sound diet, that's a horse of a different color.
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  #3   ^
Old Fri, May-31-19, 09:32
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Bob-a-rama Bob-a-rama is offline
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I don't agree. Like the FDA it may start out to protect the consumers, but sooner or later capitalist corporations will pour big money into the agency that determines what is healthy and what is not, and before long we'll get something like the old USDA food pyramid, and high fat foods will be taxed while corporate grain will not.

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Old Fri, May-31-19, 11:38
CityGirl8 CityGirl8 is offline
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I'm a super progressive, but I really dislike the idea of a Nanny Tax. It's hard to describe exactly where I see the line. I'm okay with vice taxes (cigarettes, alcohol), but deciding what other people should eat is just a step too far.

Plus the powers that be don't seem smart enough to distinguish between sugar and sugar. 'Don't eat sugar, eat fruit.'
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Old Fri, May-31-19, 14:16
Grav Grav is offline
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Originally Posted by GRB5111
To levy a tax for safety that works, and that's what this is, you'd have to get agreement on what is the definition of "good" foods before you tax "bad" foods. Now, that's a trick!

This is pretty much my view. I'm fine with taxation in theory once all other measures have been exhausted, but I don't see any point in implementing anything on food and drink for as long as the definition of what is healthy remains unsettled.

My vision for the future is of a world where we finally get that message right, the people will evolve their habits according to that advice just as they did previously with low fat, only this time a whole host of problems are resolved as a consequence, so the apparent need for a tax in this instance goes away completely.
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