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Mexico’s Junk Food Tax Reminiscent Of NYC Soda Ban

Where New York City failed, Mexico seems to be succeeding in implementing a junk food tax in the hopes of curbing its obesity epidemic.

junk food

Photo: Jennifer Snyder (Flickr)

Seven out of ten adults in Mexico are obese.

In a 317 to 164 vote, Mexico’s lower house voted to pass a modified version of a bill that would levy a tax on junk food and sugary drinks. President Enrique Peña Nieto is expected to pass it into law.

High-calorie foods — defined as foods containing 275 calories or more per 100 grams — will be taxed at five percent of the package price. Sodas will be charged an extra eight cents per liter.

Local corner stores are decrying the decision, calling it the “Bloomberg tax” in reference to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s failed push to limit the sale of large sodas.

Earlier this year, the FAO reported (pdf) that Mexico had moved past the U.S. as the world’s most obese country, and obesity-related diabetes is the number one cause of death for Mexicans.

However, Mexico’s law seems to be about more than just encouraging healthier food choices. The Wall Street Journal reports that this tax is part of a larger movement by President Peña Nieto to increase Mexico’s non-oil tax collections.

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Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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