Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Food Lobby Mobilizes, As Soda Tax Bubbles Up

By Christine Spolar, Huffington Post Investigative Fund and Joseph Eaton, Staff Writer, Center for Public Integrity

Washington lobbyists have been enjoying a multi-million-dollar sugar rush from the food industry.

Soft drink makers, supermarket companies, agriculture and the fast-food business have poured millions into campaigning against what they fear could be a burgeoning national movement to raise money for health care reform by taxing sweetened beverages.

During the first nine months of 2009, the industry groups stepped up their lobbying in Congress. They have spent more than $24 million on the issue of a national excise tax on sweetened beverages and on other legislative and regulatory issues, according to an examination of lobbying reports filed with the Senate Office of Public Records. The review shows that 21 companies and organizations reported that they lobbied specifically on the proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages - which among other things would include sodas, juice drinks and chocolate milk.

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