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21Sep

jamieoliverDid anyone see Jamie’s Sugar Rush on Channel 4 a few weeks ago? Jamie Oliver’s new campaign to tackle childhood obesity by reducing sugar intake through a sugar tax on soft drinks.

It was an excellent programme and showed, among many other things, how successful a sugar tax on soft drinks has been in the world’s fattest country, Mexico.

I signed up to the petition – which you can do too via his Sugar Rush site – and I am glad to say that it now has nearly 143,000 signature which means that it will at least be considered for a parliamentary debate.

Meanwhile… I have just had the following response from HM Gov. Petitions Department/DOH:

The Government has no plans to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The Government will announce its plans for tackling childhood obesity by the end of the year.

The Government has no plans to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

The Government has committed to a tax lock to avoid raising the cost of living and to promote UK productivity and economic growth, however, the Government keeps all taxes under review, with decisions being a matter for the Chancellor as part of the Budget process.

The causes of obesity are complex, caused by a number of dietary, lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors, and tackling it will require a comprehensive and broad approach. As such, the Government is considering a range of options for tackling childhood obesity, and the contribution that Government, alongside industry, families and communities can make, and will announce its plans for tackling childhood obesity by the end of the year.

Department of Health

Well, well – what a surprise…  It was inevitable that the soft drinks industry would be in there making their case before Jamie, or anyone else, had even opened their mouths. But how come the government has not yet got any plans to tackle childhood obesity? How long has this been a problem?  20 years? How long do they need?

Well, we shall all await the end of the year – but I can’t say that my hopes are high. If progress it going be made I suspect it will only be in reponse to pressure from high profile campaigners and seriously focused groups – such as Jamie or Professor Graham McGregor  who had such success with his CASH salt reduction campaign. Fortunately for obese children, Prof McGregor is on the sugar case too – see his Action on Sugar.

For those interested in the sugar debate, the British Society for Ecological Medicine is running one of their excellent conferences on SUGAR – The Brain, the Microbiome and Cancer on October 2nd in London. You can book a ticket here.

  

Michelle

Way back in 1987, just as I was starting work on a major history of English food, my eighteen-month-old son, Jonathan, and his father were diagnosed with dairy intolerances. Back then the alternatives for those on dairy-free diets were few and far between and pretty unappealing so, after some months of experimentation, I launched Berrydales Special Ices, soya based ices which were dairy and additive free – and tasted delicious! While manufacturing the ices I started a newsletter, The Inside Story, about food allergy and food intolerance and, by 1995, it was a quarterly magazine circulating to over 35,000 health professionals. In 2000 The Inside Story, re-named Foods Matter, became a subscription magazine and now all of that information, and much, much more, is accessible on the Foods Matter, Coeliacs Matter and Skins Matter sites and on our two freefrom food sites, FreeFromFoodsMatter and FreeFromRecipesMatter. You can follow me on twitter @FoodsMatter or email me at michelle@foodsmatter.com And, of course, you can also follow the exciting growth of freefrom food by checking out our annual FreeFrom Food Awards celebrating the best and the newest in freefrom foods!

One Response to Jamie’s sugar tax – no way……..

  1. Hi – really interesting. We missed the programme but saw that there was a petition set up – which was one of the more sensible ones we found about health. What is encouraging is that it will be definitely brought up in government and that it is great that we do have a way to get things noticed and discussed in this country.

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