San Francisco mayor to consider HFCS fee
December 18, 2007
by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
SAN FRANCISCO — Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco has announced he is pursuing adding a fee on big-box retailers selling drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in San Francisco.
The mayor said the goal would be to help reduce obesity levels, and the fees generated would go toward the expansion of Shape Up San Francisco, an anti-obesity initiative aimed at increasing awareness and opportunities for increased physical activity and improved nutrition.
"A small fee on sweetened beverages is an interesting concept that my administration will be exploring in the coming weeks," Mr. Newsom said. "Beverages sweetened by high-fructose corn syrup are standing in the way of our efforts to combat obesity. With all of the mounting evidence showing that children are increasingly at risk for poor health because of these drinks, it’s time for us to explore every avenue and examine every innovative idea in the hopes of making obesity a thing of the past."
The American Beverage Association has said such an initiative isn’t logical and won’t be effective.
"We certainly hope the mayor doesn’t pursue a flawed strategy of taxing retailers who sell soft drinks," the association said. "Not only would it have no impact on childhood obesity, it would highlight a significant lack of understanding about the complexity of this problem by government leaders. It makes no sense to single out one food or beverage product to address an issue created by a lack of balance between calories consumed and calories burned. If one were to follow this flawed logic, the major should tax all the high-tech companies in San Francisco for their culpability in contributing to childhood obesity through their video games, computer games and Internet search engines that keep kids glued to their chairs instead of outside playing and burning calories."