Taxing unhealthy food and drinks to improve health

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 15 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2931

Re: Taxing unhealthy food and drinks to improve health

I just read the release from Eurekalert "20% Fat Tax". Wouldn't it make more sense to alter the FDA guidelines to take care of this at the manufacturer/production level?

It's obvious the consumer can't control what he/she eats (with 60+ percent of people being overweight) after all fat, sugar, and salt taste good and some think in proportion may be addictive along with some added flavonoids. Why not have standards that make unhealthy foods unavailable. I think that since there are far less manufactures than consumers it would be more efficient (controllable) to set standards through the FDA instead of punishing those who can't/won't alter what they eat.

Although taxation has reduced smoking, we still have 20/25% of the population still smoking and 450,000 dying (USA) of related diseases. My opinion is why are we still allowing manufacture of a product/products that essentially kills all of its users?

Other than the obvious fact that Government is bought and paid for by people with no conscience which in both cases, tobacco and sugar/fat/salt laden food, probably will be on the market for years to come.

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 May 2012
John S. Smith
Yoga/Somatics Instructor
Rochester, Minnesota