Californians and Russians must think alike. The U.S. state recently considered reinstating a soda tax, and now Russian government officials are thinking of adding soda, potato chips, and palm oil to a list of excisable goods. The measure would be part of a plan to promote a healthier diet for Russians as well as boost tax revenues.
This new suggestion, along with a recent ban on GMOs, is a move that Russia officials hope will create a healthier population (and of course…more money for the government). Both decisions have been supported by the Russian Ministry of Agriculture. The latest proposal could also include foods with excessive fat or sugar content – all tied to obesity in the U.S.
A recent decades-long study, including over 33,000 Americans, has proven the consumption of sugary beverages like soda interferes with genes and helps to cause obesity. Sugary, fatty, processed foods do the same. Russia’s move to tax these goods isn’t a new approach, but is growing more popular.
Many in the US may think a junk food tax seems extreme, but it could actually help to promote different food choices. Currently 50-60% of all Russians are overweight and their health care costs, like those for an overweight US population, are rising.
The World Health Organization has even admitted eating sugary food and consuming sugary beverages leads to obesity and many health problems such as heart disease, costing nations billions in health care.
As RT reports:
“Russian soft drink manufacturers have called the proposal unacceptable. A new tax will have a negative financial impact on soda producers and lead to job cuts, according to the head of their trade body Dmitry Petrov.”
The head of Russia’s trade, Dmitry Petrov, says a soda tax will lead to job cuts, but palm oil is actually first on the list to be taxed – possibly starting as early as July 1 of this year with a tax of $200 per ton. Palm oil consumption is linked to higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Other foods to be taxed are still being decided upon.