Taiwan to introduce world first tax on unhealthy food?

Posted by Isobel Drake on 22nd December 2009

The Taiwanese Government is planning to introduce a tax on junk food – a move which would be a world-first, according to reports.

Citing the Apple Daily, AFP reported that Taiwan’s Bureau of Health Promotion was drafting a bill to tax unhealthy food and drink such as certain soft drinks and a range of fast-food, confectionery and alcohol products. The revenue raised would then be redirected toward health programs.

The scheme could be introduced in 2011, with the bill likely to be debated in parliament next year.

Taxes on unhealthy foods have polarised opinion around the world and whether Australia decides to tread down that path remains unclear. A report by the government-funded Preventative Health Taskforce recently recommended more analysis about the potential for food taxes to be used to encourage eating of healthier food or discourage consumption of junk food.

The Taskforce recommended carrying out a National Risk Factor Survey in 2010.

“This is where we need to commission independent modelling, really to look for a rationalised tax and excise regime for alcohol that discourages the harmful consumption and promotes safer consumption,” Rob Moodie, who chaired the Preventative Health Taskforce said, upon releasing the report in August.