Feds Seek Tax on Sugary Drinks, Snacks

A tax on sugary drinks and snacks is one way a government panel of nutrition experts thinks Americans can be coaxed into eating better. Some members of Congress are already pushing back on the idea, saying the panel has overstepped its bounds.

The panel’s recommendations will help determine what gets into the new version of dietary guidelines being prepared by the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments. The advice includes eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains and limiting added sugars and fat.

However, the panel goes beyond previous versions of the dietary guidelines by suggesting a broad list of possible policy changes – a tax is just one – that could make it easier for people to follow that diet advice.

“Taxation on higher sugar- and sodium-containing foods may encourage consumers to reduce consumption and revenues generated could support health promotion efforts,” the committee wrote as part of the recommendations released this week.