Jamie Oliver Wants To Expand Sugar Tax

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Chef Jamie Oliver said he wants the UK sugar tax to be even higher than it is already.

A vocal campaigner for the tax on sugar and fizzy drinks, Jamie still wants more change.

He’s calling for a ban on junk food adverts before 9pm and to stop energy drinks being sold to children across all supermarkets.


The ground-breaking sugar tax on soft drinks came into force in the UK on Friday (April 13) meaning manufacturers have to pay a levy on high-sugar drinks being sold.

Drinks including Fanta, Ribena and Lucozade have cut the sugar content of drinks, but Coca-Cola has stayed the same.

In his latest interview, Jamie said he welcomes the UK’s new sugar tax but wants more to change.

He says he aims to use social media to promote his new ’11-point manifesto’, which covers everything from food labelling to GP training and advertising campaigns.

He told the Mail on Sunday:

I am asking is it appropriate to advertise food that is high in salt, fat and sugar to children at prime time when obesity is crippling the NHS?

All the money [raised] is going to breakfast clubs and sports in schools. That’s the thing that makes people go, ‘Oh well tax for good, a bit like a donation, yes I’m happy to do that’.

And it’s so much more than a tax. It’s a message to the industry: ‘Guys, we’re watching you.’

There celebrity chef says it’s the first time the Government has stood up and said soft drinks are the single largest source of sugar.

He continued:

The reason for the tax on gambling is really clear: if you gamble a lot, if it gets out of control, the Government needs tax and resources because the kids go hungry and partners normally get abuse, there’s a pattern, you know?

Ultimately it is right for the state to incentivise people to turn a tap on and drink water more than open a can of sugary drink.

And it’s absolutely fair to say, he has a point.

Some people don’t agree though:

Another thing that’s changed for the better is an age-limit on energy drinks.

Aldi and Asda banned the sale of energy drinks to all those under the age of 16, meaning those without ID and under the age limit are prohibited from buying a drink containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre.

This is completely understandable when you consider the health risks of having too many energy drinks.

One 500ml can may well contain up to 160mg of caffeine – basically like having two shots of espresso – as well as a sickly 12 teaspoons of sugar. Not ideal consumption for those wanting a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

Dr Ajay Patel, Senior Lecturer in Food Law and Regulation at Manchester Metropolitan University, told UNILAD:

Drinks that contain caffeine from whatever source at a level over 150mg per litre (mg/l) must state: ‘High caffeine content. Not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women’.

This must be in the same field of vision as the name of the product, along with the amount of caffeine expressed in mg per 100ml.

The age limit introduced is a voluntary and self-regulatory measure that shows corporate and social responsibility so it’s a positive and welcome step.

According to The Guardian, statistics show young people in the UK are the biggest consumers of energy drinks in Europe.

This is particularly worrying when noting the skyrocketing popularity of energy drinks, with sales of energy beverages soaring by 185 per cent among UK customers.

This new crackdown has been praised by both healthy food campaigners and teachers, who believe energy drinks can lead to bad behaviour among young people while creating problems such as headaches and insomnia.

Jamie Oliver expressed delight at the news, tweeting:

YEAASSSSSS @asda have done the right thing! Another big retailer stopping the sale of energy drinks to children!! Who’s next?

Jamie’s 11-point manifesto:

  • Ban TV ads for food and drinks that are high in salt, fat or sugar before the 9pm watershed. Restrict advertising on social media, billboards, bus stops and sports stadiums as well as outside schools. Ban the use of cartoon characters and celebrities to promote these foods. Ban cheap promotions that encourage people to buy them.
  • Expand the sugar tax to cover more products.
  • Set compulsory targets for sugar and calorie reduction in food and drink.
  • Ban the sale of energy drinks to anyone under 16, requiring ID.
  • After Brexit, bring in new, clearer colour-coded pack labels so no food high in salt, fat or sugar can be sold as a healthy alternative.
  • Enforce proper food standards for all school meals, across the age range, monitored by Ofsted.
  • Compulsory training for GPs on aspects of nutrition, with patients weighed at every visit.
  • More support for national programmes to measure and weigh children.
  • Improve catering in public buildings so there are healthy options, particularly for shift workers and NHS staff.
  • New powers for local authorities to limit hot food takeaways near schools.
  • New Government target to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

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