I don’t think anything reveals the sclerotic, flabby thinking or just how lazy and incompetent the likes of the Obesity Policy Coalition, (whoever they are) are than this latest clamour for the low hanging fruit of a sugar tax on soft drink.
Apart from being lazy it will do absolutely nothing to solve the problem of obesity.
If it’s meant to send a message the message will be ignored or lost as people won’t even notice and to the extent that they do, they’ll will find the extra 20 cents or whatever in the centre console of the car.
Yes, there’s a lot of sugar in Coke for example but the big problem is the amount of sugar in processed foods. Many breakfast cereals like muesli are packaged and marketed as healthy and natural and for kids, fun, but in fact are just loaded with sugar and other junk. Low fat yogurts and other low fat foods are absurdly high in sugar to make up for the lack of taste for taking out the fat in the first place.
The first thing to do when shopping is check the sugar content and keeping in mind that 4.2 grams equals 1 teaspoon of sugar, some of the sugar content in some foods is outrageously shocking and tantamount to poisoning the customer. Of course they get around this with a veneer of corporate responsibility by under stating and fudging their recommended serving size. I mean who the hell eats the recommended serving size?
And the thing is that sugar pops up in products where you least expect it, like tomato sauce for example where this slurry of colouring, water, salt, sugar and food acids has 5 grams (1.25 teaspoons of sugar per 20ml) but who the hell puts just 20 ml of tomato sauce on a pie or a steak or a snag?
No doubt the big multinational food company’s have their lobbyists walking the carpet in Canberra but sooner or later with cognisance of the impact of obesity on the nations health budget these spivs and huxters are going to have to be ignored and hosed out on to the street and the government is going to have to make some very simple but tough and brutal legislative decisions with respect to the sugar content of processed food.
Some how I don’t think they’re up to the task.