On October 29, 2015, Mexican Senators and Chamber of Deputies sustained the nation’s sugar-sweetened beverage tax. The national tax, originally implemented in Mexico in January 2014, is one peso per liter for all sugar-sweetened beverages.
According to the Nutritional Health Alliance, since implementation the tax has reduced sugary drink consumption by 12 percent on average and 17 percent in the lowest socioeconomic groups by the end of the year. However, there were some legislators that were siding with the beverage companies, and were attempting to weaken the tax by cutting it by 50 percent in drinks that have less than five grams of sugar per 100 milliliters.
Research has shown that Mexico is one of the top consumers of sugary drinks in the world. Groups in Mexico, including the Nutritional Health Alliance, have used discussions about the tax to “spur increased awareness and national dialogue about the risks of soda consumption.”
“As civil society organizations, we recognize the sensitivity, commitment and consistency shown by Senators and Congress members who rejected the proposal to weaken the tax, which benefits the health of the Mexican population, especially girls and boys. Legislators sent a clear sign that they will not weaken policies that generate direct benefits to health,” said Luis Manuel Encarnación, the coordinator of the ContraPESO NCD network.
“The proposal of some legislators to reduce the SSB tax, arguing administrative and economic factors, represented a violation to children’s rights, particularly article IV of the Mexican Constitution, that states that all decisions made by our authorities must be made in the best interests of children,” said Juan Martín Pérez, the executive director of the Mexican Children’s Rights Network. “The Legislative Branch effectively demonstrated its autonomy in pushing back this initiative since there is no evidence that this measure would favor children, to the contrary it would place them at greater risk. It’s extremely important that Legislators do their duty in investing tax revenue to much needed drinking water fountains for children in schools and other effective childhood obesity prevention efforts.”