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Jamie Oliver backs plans for new ‘sugar tax’

By Jak Phillips    07 Oct 2015
The TV chef is inviting food outlets to adopt a voluntary 10p (15US¢, 14€¢) sugar levy on soft drinks with added sugar / Mr Pics / Shutterstock.com

Celebrity chef and food campaigner Jamie Oliver has thrown his support behind a new wellbeing initiative that will see a voluntary tax placed on sugar.

The UK city of Brighton is pushing forward with plans to help tackle obesity by bringing in the Sugar Smart City campaign to cut consumption of the sweet treat.

Health services in the region currently spend £80m per year treating diet-related diseases, while one in three UK 11-year-olds is currently overweight or obese, with sugar shown to be a major contributory factor.

Oliver, who has long campaigned for healthier eating habits, is supporting calls from Brighton’s director of public health for residents, schools and food outlets in the city to reassess their sugar consumption levels.

The TV chef is inviting food outlets in the city, from restaurants to takeaways, to adopt a voluntary 10p (15US¢, 14€¢) sugar levy on soft drinks with added sugar. His own eatery in Brighton – Jamie's Italian on Black Lion Lane – has already imposed its own levy, with the money raised going to Sustain, a charity working in health and food education.

“I am delighted that Brighton and Hove City Council is launching a city-wide initiative to raise awareness around the dangers of consuming too much sugar and the link to obesity and diet related diseases,” said Oliver.

“Locally based initiatives such as #SugarSmartCity, are exactly what we need to try to tackle the rise in obesity and diet-related disease.”

The first phase of Sugar Smart City will be a debate to explore what residents, public agencies as well as food retailers and takeaways can do to combat the city’s unhealthy addiction to sugar.

The debate aims to raise awareness of the health impacts of high sugar consumption, involve the public and target audiences as well as stakeholders on sugar reduction tactics and promote voluntary schemes for food outlets to support healthier choices.

“We are consuming more sugar than ever before and this is having extremely serious effects on levels of tooth decay, obesity and diabetes,” said Brighton & Hove City Council director of public health Tom Scanlon.

“The purpose of this Sugar Smart debate is to raise awareness and for us all to take a look at what we can do at homes, in schools and in restaurants, cafes and takeaways to address this.

To read an in-depth exploration of the dangers of sugar and how the wellness industry can help combat its threat – from the Q1 2014 edition of Spa Business magazine – click here.

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