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The Issue of Taxing Foods

The food industry is tied upon the recent issue of taxing food items, which is now gaining prominence as more […]

The food industry is tied upon the recent issue of taxing food items, which is now gaining prominence as more and more governments are thinking to introduce the taxes. The issue of taxing foods according to the nutrition that they provide is seen as a way to tackle the menace of obesity and curb the rising incidents of diet-related health problems.

The taxes have been implemented in France, Hungary and Denmark while countries like Canada, Ireland and UK are discussing the possibility of introducing such taxes. In the US, the issue is being debated over as some city and state authorities are thinking of introducing the soda taxes with the food industry going against the decision. The issue is supported by some medical organizations and health academics, which are assessing the implications of such taxes and even supporting the sugar or fat taxes.

There are arguments for and against the implementation of taxes on food items as those that support the issue are of the view that such taxes would curb the intake of unhealthy food items that lead to severe health problems. On the other hand, those opposing the issue are of the view that such taxes would make it difficult for poor or middle class families to survive as the food items would become dearer. However, it is suggested that any taxation on unhealthy food items such as high-sugar content beverages, meat etc. should be complemented by giving subsidy on fruits and vegetables.
Countries like Hungary, Denmark and France have already imposed taxes on unhealthy foods while other countries like South Africa, New Zealand, UK, Peru, Australia, Canada and Ireland are looking at the feasibility of such taxes.

Denmark, introduced a tax on dairy products, meat, animal fats and oils in which the saturated fat content was in excess of 2.3%. At the time of the introduction of the tax, the policy makers had indicated that the tax could be extended to products high in added sugar, however, it is not likely so.

Hungary had taxed sweetened beverages, foods high in fat, sugar or salt while France imposed a tax on soft drinks. It is suggested that the said step of taxing the food items is a measure to tackle obesity and health-related problems and is influenced by the policies of the World Health Organization, which works to reduce non-communicable diseases. Now, whether this nutrient tax is actually helpful in curbing obesity and health-related problems is yet to be seen but for now it is set in a topic for debate.

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