Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) has proposed eliminating the state’s sales tax exemption on soft drinks and candy to combat obesity and control rising health care costs. Included in his fiscal year 2013 budget recommendation, Deval’s plan would reportedly raise $61.5 million targeted in large part to preserving public health programs and preventative care services.

“In the past 10 years, the percentage of Massachusetts adults with diabetes has almost doubled, and obesity will soon pass smoking as the leading cause of preventable death,” according to a recent budget issue brief released by the governor. “Consumption of candy and soda is on the rise. Per capita candy consumption has increased steadily since the mid-1980s. Candy and soda add significant non-nutritional calories to the diets of Americans and are directly linked to obesity, especially among children.” See News Release of Governor Deval Patrick, January 25, 2012.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.