Berkeley, California, has reportedly passed an ordinance that will prevent grocery stores from displaying candy and soft drinks at the point of sale in an effort to encourage the consumption of food with more nutritional benefits, such as fruits and nuts. The ordinance, which applies to retailers with more than 2,500 square feet, states that products displayed in checkout aisles must have less than five grams of added sugars and less than 250 milligrams of sodium per serving. The ordinance will take effect March 1, 2021, with enforcement beginning in 2022.
The legislatures of multiple Mexican states have voted to prohibit the sale of highly processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages to anyone under the age of 18, according to the Washington Post. A nationwide labeling law that takes effect in October 2020 will also require black stop signs on foods high in added sugar, saturated fats, calories and added sodium, and those foods will not be permitted to be sold or promoted in schools. One legislator reportedly noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has made more Mexicans aware of the effects that being overweight or obese can have on a person's susceptibility to other diseases and conditions, echoing a similar sentiment expressed by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he announced new limits on the sale and marketing of similar foods.
A New York Times article has documented how Philadelphia's tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) has affected the residents of the city. The article, published days before the city's Democratic primary for mayor, speculates that the tax could be eliminated if the primary challengers were to beat Mayor Jim Kenney; although the mayor won the May 21, 2019, primary, the article compiles multiple negative perspectives of the tax and its effects. "In my district, 95 percent of the residents hate it," one councilperson is quoted as saying. "The people who buy $7 lattes say the poor should be drinking water, but no one is considering the fact that my constituents live in food deserts with no access to fresh fruit and vegetables." A Philadelphia business owner told the Times that his company has lost customers because the tax has sent consumers to suburban grocery stores to purchase SSBs along with the…
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association have issued a policy statement calling for taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and a decrease in SSB marketing to children. The report states that U.S. children consume 17 percent of their calories "from added sugars, nearly half of which are from sugary drinks," which are apparently "the leading source of added sugars in the US diet, provide little to no nutritional value, are high in energy density, and do little to increase feelings of satiety." The statement calls for six actions: (i) "policies that raise the price of sugary drinks, such as an excise tax"; (ii) "efforts to decrease sugary drink marketing to children and adolescents"; (iii) access to healthful foods through nutrition assistance programs; (iv) the provision of "ready access to credible nutrition information" to children and their families; (v) "[p]olicies that make healthful beverages the default choice"; and…
Researchers in Circulation reported finding a correlation between a higher risk of total mortality in American adults and regular consumption of SSBs. Malik et al., "Long-Term Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Mortality in US Adults," Circulation, March 18, 2019. "Consumption of SSBs was positively associated with mortality primarily through [cardiovascular disease] mortality and showed a graded association with dose," the researchers concluded.
An en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has held that a district court abused its discretion by denying the American Beverage Association and the California Retailers Association a preliminary injunction that would prevent San Francisco’s ordinance regulating advertisements for sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) from taking effect. Am. Beverage Ass’n v. City & Cty. Of San Francisco, No. 16-16072 (9th Cir., entered January 31, 2019). The court found that the amount of space required for the mandatory health disclosure on SSB ads—20 percent—“is not justified and is unduly burdensome when balanced against its likely burden on protected speech.” The Supreme Court “made clear… that a government-compelled disclosure that imposes an undue burden fails for that reason alone,” the Ninth Circuit stated, before noting that the “remaining factors of the preliminary injunction test also favor an injunction. Because Plaintiffs have a colorable First Amendment claim, they have demonstrated that…
The United Kingdom has launched a public consultation on a proposal to restrict some types of advertising for foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS). The consultation targets "volume-based price promotions of HFSS food and drink that encourage people to buy more than they need, for example, ‘buy one, get one free’ and free refills of sugary soft drinks" as well as ads placed at "main selling locations in stores, such as checkouts, aisle ends and store entrances." The government further seeks input on "which businesses, products and types of promotions should be included in the restrictions," "definitions for HFSS products, price promotions and locations in stores" and "how businesses can put this into practice and whether they will face any difficulties."
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed the Keep Groceries Affordable Act, a statute preventing local agencies in the state from imposing taxes or fees on groceries, including "carbonated and noncarbonated nonalcoholic beverages," until January 1, 2031. The law, which exempts taxes that do not specifically refer to groceries as a target classification, also invalidates any "tax, fee, or other assessment on groceries imposed by a local agency after January 1, 2018," but will not invalidate taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages in San Francisco and Berkeley.
Ireland’s tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) will take effect May 1, 2018, following a European Commission finding that the tax does not constitute state aid. According to a press release, "The Commission in its assessment found that soft drinks can be treated differently to other sugary products in view of health objectives. For example, the Commission took into account the fact that soft drinks are the main source of calories devoid of any nutritional value and thereby raise particular health issues. Furthermore, soft drinks are particularly liable to lead to overconsumption and represent a higher risk of obesity, also compared to other sugary drinks and solid food. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the scope of the Irish sugar sweetened drinks tax and its overall design are consistent with the health objectives pursued and does not unduly distort competition."
Researchers in France and Brazil have concluded that a 10 percent increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods is associated with a "significant increase of greater than 10% in risks of overall and breast cancer." Thibault Fiolet, et al., "Consumption of ultra-processed food and cancer risks: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort," BMJ, February 14, 2018. The study, which involved surveying records of more than 100,000 participants, asserts that ultra-processed fats and sauces along with sugary products and drinks were associated with an increased risk of overall cancer, while ultra-processed sugary products were also associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. The researchers hypothesized that the findings were caused by the "generally poorer nutritional quality of diets rich in ultra-processed foods," the wide range of additives used, and heat-related processing and preparation that produce neoformed contaminants such as acrylamide.