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Issue Date: Vol. 53, No. 8, August 2013, Posted On: 7/29/2013

Congresswoman Wants To End Tax Break For Companies Marketing 'Unhealthy' Foods

Emily Jed
TAGS: vending, healthy foods, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), tax exemption end for unhealthy food, food manufacturers loophole, National Automatic Merchandising Association, obesity initiatives

WASHINGTON -- Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced legislation that aims to close a tax exemption "loophole" for food manufacturers that market foods considered to be "unhealthy." The National Automatic Merchandising Association said it is "concerned" about the impact the rule change could have on the food and beverage industry and on consumer choice.

The bill wouldn't ban food manufacturers from marketing their products to anyone they choose. But those whose products don't meet federal dietary guidelines would be unable to deduct expenses related to advertising campaigns directed at children. The federal guidelines are based on the latest science and nutritional data, and are updated regularly to reflect that data.

DeLauro emphasized that obesity among adults has doubled in recent years, while childhood obesity has tripled. "Addressing the complex issues underlying this epidemic will require a multifaceted approach, and this bill is one piece of that approach," she said. "Taxpayers should not continue to subsidize a tax loophole that allows companies to deduct expenses for marketing 'unhealthy' foods to kids."

NAMA senior vice-president of government affairs Eric Dell said the vending association is monitoring the legislation. "Upon initial review of media coverage referencing the proposed legislation, we are concerned with its potential impact on the food and beverage industry and consumer choice," he noted.

The bill would require a tax code change in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Trade Commission.

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