Mexico Could Soon Tax Junk Food
5% tax on high-calorie food and drink passes lower house
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2013 4:54 PM CDT
Office workers eat tacos at an outdoor food stand during lunch time in Mexico City.   (AP Photo/Ivan Pierre Aguirre)

(Newser) – Proposed soda taxes have been shot down in the US, but in Mexico, that bottle of Jarritos could soon cost more. Legislation that will tax high-calorie food and sugary drinks was approved by Mexico's Chamber of Deputies yesterday. Now it's headed to the Senate, where it's also expected to pass, reports the LA Times. If enacted, foods with 275 calories or more per 100 grams will be taxed an extra 5%, chewing gum 16%, and soda will cost about 8 cents more per liter.

According to the UN, 32.8% of Mexican adults are obese—even more than the US, where the figure is 31.8%. The junk food levy is part of a wider tax package that will generate some $20 billion for the government. Still, the tax has plenty of opponents. It's "a cruel way to take away the little pleasure we can give our kid," says one Mexico City local. "How do you tell your children you are so poor you cannot give them a little soft drink?" Opponents also argue it will hit mom and pop stores. "It will hurt," says a woman who sells candy and soda on a street corner. "Sales will fall, people will stop buying."

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American Beverage Association
Oct 22, 2013 12:27 PM CDT
If the intent is to reduce obesity, a soda tax simply won’t make a measurable difference. Real world examples reinforce this point and make clear targeting a single source of calories won’t help health. For instance, West Virginia and Arkansas have had excise taxes on soft drinks, and continue to rank among the top 10 most obese states in the nation. Colorado and Vermont have had no such tax and rank among the least obese states: And, consider this study published in The American Journal of Agricultural Economics (, which found that the reduced calorie intake from soft drinks would cause an increase in calories consumed from other foods particularly those containing high sodium and fat.- Maureen at American Beverage Association
Oct 21, 2013 5:40 AM CDT
If industry and the public do not like these kinds of government interventions they should not have behaved in a manner that made them necessary. The mom and pop business that sells things that destroy peoples' health are not entitled to make a profit from it and the mother who complains that it will break her child's heart not to be able to buy the child the "life's pleasure" of a sugar loaded soda is obviously an unfit mother. If McDonald's , its customers, and the advertizing industry do not like the government turning into a nanny state they should not behave like little children who do any of the things they know are wrong that they can get away with and they should not argue like the tobacco industry that there is anything right about what they choose to do. This is not about personal freedom because advertizing is so sophisticated that it long ago achieved such control over peoples' desires and thoughts that the existence of freedom is now a myth.
Oct 21, 2013 3:42 AM CDT
Why not regulate every action in life. The college we select for our kids. We could be making a terrible mistake and depriving society of better educated kids. Force everyone to report their entire grocery list. I had a friend who was a physician who said he chose his cereal for its low sugar content. Turns out like much less educated persons he based that upon the name and advertising of the cereal that had the identical sugar content of almost all other cereals. Somebody, anybody, tell me just one of the 3 or 4 major cereals that actually have no added sugar and much less sodium. Ahem! So bring on the government, yesterday if not sooner, and have it force us to eat the way it says we should. We could be making terrible mistakes. Screw freedom