A measure to tax sugar-sweetened beverages passes in Berkeley, fails in San Francisco

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1431130_82873643Polls are closed and the election results are in regarding the proposals to tax sugary beverages in Berkeley and San Francisco. The verdict? Well, you win some, you lose some.

Bad news first Berkeley is officially the nation s first city to impose a tax on sugary drinks. Measure D, imposing a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar sweetened beverages - passed with 75 percent of the popular vote. The funds generated from the tax will supposedly go to the general operating budget. The measure excludes diet drinks, milk products, 100 percent juice, baby formula, medicinal drinks and drinks distributed by small retailers.

And now for the good news This measure failed to pass in San Francisco, with only 55 percent voting in favor of the bill. It would have needed a 2/3 vote to pass. Proposition E would have imposed a 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

Proponents of the bills believe that these measures will help to curb obesity rates. However, says ACSH s Ariel Savransky, as we have said many times in the past whenever such bills have been proposed, these taxes are a ploy by anti-soda GROUPS masquerading as a move for public health. Even if these taxes do discourage individuals from purchasing soda, they will most likely substitute other more calorie dense foods for the sugary sodas. She goes on, It would make more sense to invest the time and money used to fight in favor or against these bills to educate consumers on how to eat right, exercise and live mostly healthy lives. That s where the results are going to come from.

And in other food-related election news, we want to give a shoutout to Colorado and Oregon. Voters rejected Proposition 105 in Colorado which would have required labels on GMOs. This proposition was defeated with 65 percent of voters voting against labeling. In Oregon, voters rejected State Ballot Measure No. 92 which would have required such labeling, by a very slim margin, with just over 50 percent voting against the measure.

ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross had this comment: Well, that s oh-for-four, as we used to say in Little League, 4 proposals to label GMO-containing food as such, 4 swatted away by a surprisingly-well-informed electorate. My suggestion still has merit: those who want to advise the consumer about GMOs should simply label their own GMO-free products and stop haranguing everyone about consumers right to know if GMOs are in their food. It s a phony proposition and the people know it.