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    Mr2
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    Predefinito Proposta di legge in UK...

    Junk food under attack by fat tax
    By David Charter and Sam Lister

    Downing Street declares war on obesity




    DOWNING STREET has declared war on obesity with proposals for a fat tax on junk food. Burgers, crisps, fizzy drinks, butter and whole milk will be hit under plans by the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.
    It has raised the prospect of extra duty or VAT being imposed on some of the nation’s favourite foods after heart disease overtook cancer as Britain’s biggest killer and more young people started developing diabetes.



    Plans seen by The Times for the new tax, already being dubbed FAT in Westminster, follow the discovery that the number of obese people had risen from less than 10 per cent of the population in the 1980s to more than 20 per cent, according to the Strategy Unit paper, Personal Responsibility and Changing Behaviour.

    “Some of the risks associated with (obesity), such as cardiovascular disease, can be mitigated to some extent with drugs, and NHS expenditure on these is rising rapidly. However, the main drivers — poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle — are largely outside the direct influence of the NHS,” according to the document obtained by The Times.

    The unit suggests a number of public policy initiatives including a national sports drive along the lines of the successful “Active Australia” strategy, and lifestyle lessons in school.

    “Government-supported action could be taken to reform the marketing practices of some parts of the fast-food and confectionery industries. Labelling, and in some cases warnings, could be applied to food packaging and at the point of sale to assist customers, but also to signal the importance of nutrition and give it greater emphasis,” it says.

    The unit believes it could be time for new rules to dictate the nutritional content of food and drinks.

    The paper suggests “improved regulated nutritional standards for common processed foods and drinks — fat and sugar content — could be a society-wide intervention, helping to ensure that benefits were not excessively polarised by social class.”

    It adds: “There might even be potential to consider fiscal measures — a “fatty food tax” applied to food not people — or different VAT treatment for foods with poor nutritional standards. This would be a signal to producers as well as consumers and serve more broadly as a signal to society that nutritional content in food is important.”

    A recent study in the British Medical Journal, found that a “fat tax” could help prevent up to 1,000 premature deaths from heart disease a year in the UK. The plan will be welcomed by the British Medical Association, which last year debated a call for a tax on saturated fats to tackle obesity. GPs argued that the tax would help to cover the high cost of treating obesity and might change people's behaviour.

    The Food and Drink Federation, which represents the industry, said then that taxing foods would be bad for consumers and the economy. The federation said it could have a serious financial effect on lower income families and a negative effect on their health.

    The Government paper comes as Brussels is considering its own version of a fat tax following a recent World Health Organisation report on obesity. It also follows pressure on giant drink companies such as Coca-Cola to remove branding from vending machines in schools.

    The Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit is run by Geoff Mulgan, formerly head of the Demos think-tank, which floated the idea of a fat tax last year. Demos suggested a tax on the money spent by manufacturers on advertising to fund a national health promotion agency.

    Today’s suggestions go further and would hit consumers in their pockets if they decided to carry on eating fatty foods.

    VAT is levied at the full rate of 17.5 per cent on many foods most associated with obesity, such as crisps, fizzy drinks and ice cream. But a burger bought in a supermarket is zero-rated while burgers sold in fast-food restaurants carry the tax.

    Tom Marshall, a public health specialist who recently studied the possible effects of a fat tax, believes that adding VAT to foods high in saturated fats — such as full-fat milk, hard cheeses, butter, ice-cream, buns and biscuits — could make a major impact on cholesterol levels.

    Cholesterol concentrations are largely down to the proportion of dietary energy derived from saturated or polyunsaturated fats and by the amount of cholesterol in diets. The report found that if this were reduced, there would be a fall in the number of people suffering from some heart disease.

    If VAT were to be extended to the principal sources of dietary saturated fat, while exempting cholesterol-neutral foods such as orange juice and low-fat yoghurt, the public would be more likely to buy the cheaper, low-fat alternatives, Dr Marshall concluded.

    Last night nutritionists and dieticians gave warning that imposing a tax on fatty foods would not tackle the real causes of obesity.

    While some accepted that punitive pricing might deter people from buying high-fat products, far more benefits would be gained from “positive pricing” for healthy foods.

    Amanda Wynne, a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, said the Government’s thinking was too basic for a problem linked not just to diet, but class and education. “Tackling the problem of people not eating healthily is a lot more complicated than a simple tax,” she said.Amanda Ursell, the nutritionist and broadcaster, said that implementing the policy fairly would prove “almost impossible”.

    “It would be very difficult to find a sensible way of targeting fatty foods,” she said. “Taramasalata is full of fat, but it is not a problem because people do not eat it in large quantities. Then you get things like pizzas — would you tax a pepperoni pizza, but not a marguerita?”

    The fatbusters' hit list

    DAIRY PRODUCTS
    Fresh butter: 737 calories per 100g
    Cheddar cheese: 429
    Full-fat milk: 380 per pint

    FAST-FOOD
    Cheeseburger: 269 per 100g
    Chicken drum sticks: 291
    Takeaway pizza: 259
    Potato wedges: 207
    Pork pie: 370
    Chips: 253

    SWEETS
    Dairy milk chocolate bar: 530 per 100g
    Mars bar: 452
    Chocolate ice cream: 318
    Butter toffee popcorn: 405


    Siore e siori...viva il circo


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  2. #2
    Estremista della libertà
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    Predefinito

    Lo stiamo dicendo da tempo: la crociata contro il fumo non è che l'inizio di un processo generale verso la dittatura dei camici bianchi.
    Dai uno sguardo a Forces nella sezione sull'obesità (concetto, come saprai, assai elastico e suscettibile di variazioni).

 

 

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