Important news out of Berkeley, California. The city’s soda tax brought in $116,000 in its first month, and is “on track to provide an extra $1.2 million a year to Berkeley health programs and schools,” the Bay Area’s local NBC affiliate reports.
Meanwhile, the soda industry (its two biggest companies, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, are Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics partners) put out a self-congratulatory press release announcing that, in cooperation with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, it will:
“… utilize a range of marketplace activities in [four Los Angeles neighborhoods where there has been less interest in or access to lower-calorie and smaller-portion beverages] in an effort to help people reduce their calories, such as making lower-calorie and smaller-portion beverages more available in stores, providing incentives for consumers to try these options and displaying new calorie awareness messages at points of sale.”
In short, the same old “personal responsibility” and “we provide choices” rhetoric that accomplishes nothing from a public health standpoint.
This is yet another example of policy and regulation providing benefits to public health, while sitting at the table with industry and letting them call the shots only results in minimal measures that are more about PR and damage control than anything else.
Coincidentally, AND never supported a soda tax. Surely, its soft drink sponsors would not have appreciated such a position.