Taxes on sugary drinks are often credited with reducing soda consumption by making the sweet beverages more expensive. The taxes may actually have a much smaller impact on how consumers view the sodas, say the authors of a study on the "non-pecuniary (non-price) effects of sugar-sweetened beverage policies."
Each child and teenager in the United States consumes enough sugary beverages to fill a bath tub every year, said the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association. Citing strong evidence of an association between added sugars and an increased risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses, the prominent medical groups said they supported soda taxes to reduce consumption of added sugars.
Californians approved welfare standards for farm animals in a landslide on Tuesday. In Oregon and Washington State, voters delivered a split decision on measures affecting soda taxes. (No paywall)
In June 2017, the Seattle City Council approved a tax of 1.75 cents per ounce on sugary beverages. Now the soda industry has donated almost every dollar of the $20.2 million raised to support a statewide referendum on Nov. 6 that would prevent other cities and counties in Washington State from following Seattle’s lead.
California’s legislature rushed to pass a last-minute measure that bans cities and counties from passing soda taxes until 2031. The bill was passed to stave off a ballot initiative backed by the soda industry that would have made it much harder for municipalities to hike any type of tax.
A type of spyware, supposedly restricted to use by law-enforcement agencies, was found on the smartphones of three prominent proponents of the 10-percent excise tax on soda and other sugary beverages adopted by Mexico in 2014, says the New York Times. The spyware piggybacked its way onto phones with harassing messages to the men, one of whom is director of nutrition policy at Mexico's National Institute of Public Health.
The 2016 general election can be split into sectors of interest for food and agriculture issues: state referendums on agricultural issues; four municipal referendums on soda taxes, and three House races in which the food movement targeted Republican incumbents.
The farm lobby has a reputation for punching above its weight when it comes to federal policy, while the beverage industry usually has prevailed easily in arguments over soda taxes. Their winning records will be tested in Tuesday's general election, when polls suggest agricultural groups will lose referendums in Massachusetts and Oklahoma.
The consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest says the two major U.S. soft-drink bottlers, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and the trade group American Beverage Association "have spent a minimum of $67 million since 2009 to defeat soda taxes and warning labels in 19 cities and states." Four cities will vote on local soda taxes on Nov. 8, and there are published reports in Chicago that the president of the Cook County Board is looking at a tax on sugary beverages.