• An independent panel advising the World Health Organization (WHO) did not recommend taxing sugary drinks in a report, titled, “A Time to Deliver.” While the report, released June 1, 2018, recommends that governments give priority to restricting the marketing of unhealthy products (that contain excessive amounts of sugars, sodium, saturated fats and trans fats) to children, it stops short of calling for taxes on sugary beverages. The report does, however, recommend increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
  • The lack of a recommendation to tax sugary beverages is surprising since WHO has been recommending for decades that free sugars be reduced in daily diets. In January 2018, we blogged about a WHO report urging the food industry and global governments to take active steps to slow sugar’s contribution to childhood obesity. Later that year, WHO issued a report calling for a tax on sugary drinks.
  • Several news outlets have reported that the Trump administration was behind the decision to not call for a beverage tax in the report. According to a S. News and World Report article, Dr. Sania Nishtar, co-chair of the WHO panel, said most of the panel’s 26 members supported a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages but panel member Eric Hargan, U.S. Deputy Secretary for Health and Human Services, opposed the tax.
  • We have been reporting on the soda tax debate for several years now (see Soda Tax Battles Continue into 2018, Five More U.S. Cities to Tax Soft Drinks, and United Kingdom’s Sugar Tax on Beverages Takes Effect as examples). We will continue to keep our readers up-to-date on efforts to tax sugary beverages and other foods.