The minister said the decision is based on guidance from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a letter to President Hassan Rouhani.
Mexicans love their soda. Construction workers go to their jobs in the early morning clutching giant two-litre or even three-litre bottles. Babies in strollers suck on bottles filled with orange soda. In the highlands of Chiapas, Coca-Cola is considered to have magical powers and is used in religious rites.
But Mexico also loves the soda industry. Vicente Fox, who in 2000 became the country’s first democratically elected president, had earlier been president of Coca-Cola Mexico and then head of the company’s Latin American operations. The symbolism was noteworthy: soda companies – particularly Coke, which controls 73% of the Mexican market (compared with only 42% in the US) – have amassed extraordinary influence over health policy in Mexico.
Controversial report calls for tax on sugary foods and drinks and a crackdown on the marketing of unhealthy products to children.
A report on sugar’s ruinous effects on people’s health that was controversially delayed by Jeremy Hunt urges ministers to impose a “sugar tax” and crack down on the marketing of unhealthy products to children and two-for-one deals in supermarkets in an effort to tackle childhood obesity.
The report, compiled by Public Health England (PHE), the government’s advisory group, sets out a range of tough policies that need to be taken to reduce the consumption of sugary foods and drinks that are fuelling the obesity crisis and costing the NHS £.5.1bn a year. It is being published on Thursday, but the Guardian has obtained an advance copy.
The drop in soda consumption represents the single
largest change in the American diet in the last decade.
Five years ago, Mayor Michael A. Nutter proposed a tax on soda in Philadelphia, and the industry rose up to beat it back.
Soda lobbyists made campaign contributions to local politicians and staged rallies, with help from allies like the Teamsters union and local bottling companies. To burnish its image, the industry donated $10 million to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
It worked: The soda tax proposal never got out of a City Council committee.
It’s a familiar story. Soda taxes have also flopped in New York State and San Francisco. So far, only superliberal Berkeley, Calif., has succeeded in adopting such a measure over industry objections.
The obvious lesson from Philadelphia is that the soda industry is winning the policy battles over the future of its product. But the bigger picture is that soda companies are losing the war.
When the American Academy of Pediatrics needed support for a website it created to promote children’s health, it turned to a surprising partner: Coca-Cola.
The world’s largest maker of sugary beverages, Coca-Cola has given nearly $3 million to the academy over the past six years, making it the only “gold” sponsor of the HealthyChildren.org website. Even though the pediatric academy has said publicly that sugary drinks contribute to the obesity epidemic, the group praises Coke on its website, calling it a “distinguished” company for its commitment to “better the health of children worldwide.”
The extent of the financial ties between Coke and the Academy of Pediatrics was revealed last week when the company released a detailed list of nearly $120 million in grants, large and small, given to medical, health and community organizations since 2010. Not only has Coke’s philanthropy earned it praise from influential medical groups, the soda grants appear to have, in some cases, won the company allies in anti-soda initiatives, wielded influence over health recommendations about soft drinks, and shifted scientific focus away from soda as a factor in the causes of obesity.