DeLauro introduces soda tax bill

Published online: Jul 30, 2014
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Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., introduced a bill Wednesay that would impose a federal tax of 1 cent per teaspoon of caloric sweetener, such as sugar or high-fructose corn syrup in sweetened beverages.

The bill is called the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act, or the SWEET bill.

“People want to be healthy and they want their kids to be healthy. But we are in the midst of dual epidemics, with obesity and diabetes afflicting our nation and the related, astronomical health care costs,” DeLauro said in a news release.

“There is a clear relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and a host of other health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and tooth decay,” she said. “We are at a crucial tipping point and the SWEET Act will help correct the path we are currently on.”

“The revenue raised by the SWEET Act would be used to fund initiatives designed to reduce the human and economic costs of obesity, diabetes, dental problems and other health conditions related to sugar-sweetened beverages,” DeLauro added.

“This includes prevention and treatment programs, research and nutrition education. Such diseases are responsible for an estimated $190 billion in annual health care costs, over 20 percent of which are paid by American taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid.”

DeLauro also sent reporters a collection of statements from groups supporting the bill.

She also released a letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg supporting FDA’s proposal to include added sugars in nutrition labeling, but said the label should go further to add a “daily value” for sugars and to require that sugars be grouped together on the label.