CommonDreams News Center
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 29, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC - October 29 - An international coalition of consumer organizations announced the formation of the Global “Dump Soda” Campaign to call attention to the marketing of sugary soft drinks and other high calorie beverages linked to the world-wide childhood obesity crisis.
The campaign, aimed at transnational giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, is calling on government officials to require the companies to:
1. Cease all marketing of sugar-laden beverages to children under 16, including print and broadcast advertising, product placement, the Internet, mobile phones, athletic event sponsorship, signage, packaging promotions, merchandising, and other means.
2. Stop selling sweetened beverages, including sports drinks and fruit flavored beverages and teas, in all public and private elementary, middle, and high schools; acceptable beverages in schools include water, seltzer (carbonated) water, and fruit juice in container sizes of 250 ml or less. (Ideally, schools should have free, convenient drinking fountains.)
3. Limit sponsorships promoting physical activity and health to contributions to “blind” trusts overseen by government agencies which use such funds for programs that do not feature corporate logos, brands, or other proprietary information.
4. Increase the promotion of new lower-sugar products and sell existing high sugar products in smaller portions.
5. Pay a modest value added tax on soft drinks -- with governments returning the money to consumers through provision of physical activity and nutrition education programs, and through subsidies that reduce the costs of fruits and vegetables.
“Multinational giants like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are flooding the world with beverages that are nothing more than liquid candy,” said Bruce Silverglade, legal director of the US-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). “As a result, consumers, including children, in all corners of the globe are increasingly developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.”
Some lower income countries now suffer a double burden of childhood obesity and malnutrition, according to the World Health Organization.
“We hope that consumers around the world can avoid the types of problems that high rates of soft drink consumption has led to in the U.S.,” Silverglade said.
The Global Dump Soda Campaign is being announced at the commencement of the Consumers International Congress being held in Sydney, Australia October 29-31. Consumer organizations from more than 50 countries will be attending.
The campaign is being spearheaded by CSPI and the International Association of Consumer Food Organizations www.IACFO.org, with the support of Corporate Accountability International, Safe Food International, the International Baby Food Action Network, and other national and international consumer organizations. For more information about the Global Dump Soda Campaign, visit www.dumpsoda.org