Plate of The Union: Soda Tax Debate Highlights Needed Reform in American Food System

Calls on 2016 Presidential Campaigns to Prioritize the Health of Americans Ahead of Sugar Interests’ Corporate Bottom Lines

WASHINGTON, DC — Plate of the Union – a grassroots campaign calling for bold action to reform the nation’s food system – today announced a call for presidential candidates to put Americans’ health first in the soda tax debate.

Corporate special interests spend big bucks to keep American food and beverage policies from reflecting the truth that the overconsumption of added sugars has dire health consequences. Worse, corporate control over our food system is ensuring that this overconsumption continues. By continuing agricultural supports and policies that help keep junk food and beverages with high levels of sugar widely available and cheap, lawmakers are allowing Wall Street to drive up chronic health problems like obesity, diabetes and hypertension among our most vulnerable populations, including children and low income families.

Plate of the Union wants candidates to know what matters the most to voters is the health and safety of our people, not corporate interests’ bottom lines. The majority of voters are concerned that – because of health problems caused by poor nutrition – one third of American children today will develop type-2 diabetes and will live shorter lives than their parents. The current soda tax debate is a direct indication that voters will not stand for our food system to continue to harm the health of our children.

The American government must ensure access to affordable healthy foods and beverages for all Americans, and curb the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages so that all Americans, including children, can make better choices when it comes to nutrition. Plate of the Union calls for the candidates to show presidential leadership and to stop putting corporate profit ahead of the health of our people.

“America’s current food and beverage policies aren’t focused on health, they’re focused on money,” said Claire Benjamin DiMattina, Executive Director of Food Policy Action and co-founder of Plate of the Union. “America owes its citizens better food and beverage policies, and voters are paying attention. We hope candidates heed our call and put the health of American’s first in this debate.”

Plate of the Union is a collaborative campaign driven by Food Policy Action, Food Policy Action Education Fund, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the HEAL Food Alliance to raise the voice of Americans who care about food and farm issues during this election season. The policies that shape our food system influence our health, our environment, and our economy. Plate of the Union is calling on the next President to take bold action for a food system that rewards farmers and farming practices that protect our environment, that provides dignity and fair wages to workers, and ensures that all Americans have access to healthy food that they can afford.

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