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United Nations Suggests Taxing Unhealthy Food Products

Should unhealthy food products be taxed? According to the United Nations, the answer to this question is yes as they say unhealthy diets pose a greater risk to global health than the increasingly regulated sale of tobacco. They recommend governments should move fast to tax harmful food products, a United Nations investigator said on Monday.

unhealthy food products

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In a statement issued on the opening of the annual summit of the World Health Organization (WHO), Belgian professor Olivier de Schutter called for efforts to launch negotiations on a global pack to tackle the obesity epidemic per Fox News.

“Unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco. Just as the world came together to regulate the risks of tobacco, a bold framework convention on adequate diets must now be agreed,” de Schutter said.

De Schutter, wo has held his post of special rapporteur on the right to food since 2008 and before that headed the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights, reports to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

In 2005, a U.N. convention on tobacco control aimed to reduce deaths and health problems caused by the product went into force after long negotiations under the umbrella of the WHO.

In a report to the rights council in 2012, de Schutter said a similar regulation on food should including taxing unhealthy food products, regulating food high in saturated fats, salt and sugar, and “cracking down on junk food advertising.”

The report also calls for an overhaul on the system of farm subsidies “that make certain ingredients cheaper than others”, and for support for local production.

In de Schutter’s statement Monday, issued through the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, he said any attempts to promote better diets and combat obesity “will only work if the food systems underpinning them are put right.”

“Governments have been focusing on increasing calories availability, but they have often been indifferent to what kind of calories are on offer, at what price, to whom they are made available, and how they are marketed.”

Such measures, he said, “are essential to ensure that people are protected from aggressive misinformation campaigns.”

About Chelsea Alves

  • PdxTony

    the problem is that “unhealthy” is relative. What really matters is quantity. Serving sizes matter more than the type of food.

  • http://batman-news.com George

    Why not have a tax against bad thoughts. That way if anyone is even thinking about eating unhealthy food they will be taxed. In that way more money can be available to governments to implement more control over it’s citizens. We need truly forward looking ideas like this if we are to protect people against themselves. It is exactly this sort of freedoms that must be eliminated if we are to have people live the longest possible. Again if people live longer they will make more money available to government; we must keep our eye on the ball, or there will not be enough money available to control people. Support a tax on thought!

  • DontCensorPeople

    So the follow-on from socialized healthcare is taxation of anything that might affect health.

    Why not a tax on sports which can cause injuries? How about a tax on football or skiing, since they can result in broken limbs? How about a tax on suntanning or surfing?

    Eating is only one way to put your health at risk. Just don’t put a tax on Kool-Aid, since you’re expected to drink as much of that as possible.

  • Nathan Merrill

    This guy needs to be fired for being so bad at his job. If he knew even the most basic facts of nutritional science, he wouldn’t be advocating such moronic measures.

    Let’s live in reality for a moment here, shall we?

    Junk food isn’t bad for you. No food is bad for you unless it is poisonous.

    What IS bad for you is eating more calories than you burn, and being malnourished – that is to say, not getting enough of essential nutrients.

    Ironically, a lot of junk food – such as Big Macs, a quintessential “junk food” – are actually nutritious. A Big Mac, in 550 calories, contains a quarter of the calories you need, a quarter of the iron you need, a quarter of the calcium you need, and all the essential amino acids that you need.

    How is that junk food? It is actually reasonably nutritious!

    The problem comes when someone eats TOO MUCH food relative to their activity level.

    The only thing that matters for most people (unless they do something stupid, like eat a vegetarian or vegan diet) is getting the right energy balance. You’re very unlikely to be malnourished if you eat a normal diet these days (i.e. very unlikely to be missing any essential nutrients).

    And study after study after study has proved that people cannot and will not stick to diets.

    And frankly, most people won’t consistently exercise either.

    That just means you’re going to have a lot of fat people.

    If you want to worry about this, there’s only one way to do it:

    Tax fat people. Charge people an obesity tax.

    Don’t need to tax foods, because foods aren’t responsible. Any food can be part of a healthy or unhealthy diet.

    If you tax people being unhealthy, you can punish them for their bad eating habits.

    But frankly? It won’t work. Because people will just whine about the taxes and fail to lose weight because they’re lazy.