155,154 registered members
Reilly urged to stand up to food lobby
[Posted: Wed 05/10/2011 www.irishhealth.com]
Health Minister James Reilly has been urged to stand up to industry lobbying and introduce a tax on processed junk food.
Labour MEP for Leinster East Nessa Childers said the Minister must not allow food industry lobbying to derail plans to tackle Ireland's growing obesity epidemic.
"We are in the middle of an obesity epidemic, and tax is a proven way to change consumer behaviour. The Minister should introduce a special tax on junk foods, which means processed foods with high fat, salt or sugar content," Ms Childers said.
She was responding to yesterday's irishhealth.com story in which leading obesity expert Dr Donal O'Shea urged Ireland to follow Denmark's lead and impose a 'fat tax' on foods with high amounts of fat, sugar or salt.
Dr Reilly recently said he was asking fast-food operators to include calorie counts on their menus, and he is also considering the introduction of a sugar tax on sweetened drinks.
However, Ms Childers said the Minister must go further than this in the battle against obesity.
"Taxing processed foods like pizzas, soft drinks, microwaveable dinners and pre-packaged snacks will make a huge difference in our fight against obesity."
She said these taxes should not affect basic foodstuffs such as milk, butter and beef, which can form part of a balanced diet.
However, the 'fat tax' bringing introduced in Denmark includes products high in saturated fats such as butter.
Minister Reilly has said the Special Action Group on Obesity at this stage is not considering the introduction of a 'fat tax'.
|To join the discussion, register by clicking here|