Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity
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Congresswoman DeLauro Proposes Federal Soda Tax

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has introduced the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act of 2014 (SWEET Act), a bill to address obesity and diabetes by discouraging excessive sugar in beverages. The SWEET Act would amend the I.R.S. code to impose a one-cent tax on manufacturers for every teaspoon of added sugar in beverages.

The revenue from the tax would go toward initiatives designed to reduce the human and economic costs associated with health conditions related to sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.

"Scientific research shows a very clear relationship between the consumption of sugary drinks and obesity, diabetes, and other chronic health problems," said Marlene Schwartz, PhD, Rudd Center’s Director.  "Given the pervasive marketing of sugary drinks in our food environment today, we need to encourage families to make healthy choices and a soda tax has the potential to do just that."

Sugar consumption-related diseases are responsible for an estimated $190 billion in annual health care costs, over 20 percent of which are paid by American taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid, DeLauro said.

Congresswoman DeLauro is hoping the initiative will galvanize local efforts to levy taxes on sweetened beverages, even if the SWEET Act does not become law, according to Reuters. Read more.

Healthier Versions of Lunchables are Outnumbered and Out of Reach

When Kraft Foods joined the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) in 2006, it committed to advertise only healthier dietary choices, including some varieties of Lunchables, directly to children. 

However, a recent report by the Rudd Center examined the nutritional quality and marketing of Kraft Lunchables and found that just five out of 42 varieties meet CFBAI’s nutrition standards for advertising to children. In the supermarket, less nutritious versions of Lunchables outnumber the healthier ones by six to one, and the healthier varieties are most likely to be stocked on the top shelf, above eye level for both children and adults.

In response to the report’s findings, the Rudd Center and the Food Marketing Workgroup today sent a letter to Kraft asking the company to:

• Adopt a comprehensive policy on brand advertising and marketing;

• Update Kraft’s food marketing policy to cover in-store and on-package marketing; and

• Extend Kraft’s marketing policy to cover children ages 12 to 14.

Brand marketing, in-store and on-package marketing, and the exclusion of children ages 12 to 14 as part of company marketing policies are key weaknesses of self-regulation that the Food Marketing Workgroup has been pushing to strengthen. Read more.


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