Fast Food Under Attack

By Jun 01, 2005

In two separate developments, the fast-food, soda and snack industries have come under the scrutiny of lawmakers.

In Connecticut, a school nutrition bill passed last month by the State House of Representatives bans vending machines, cafeterias and school stores from selling “junk food” in all public schools and soda in elementary and middle schools.

In a compromise, diet soda and sports drinks, such as Gatorade, can be sold in the state’s high schools. Pepsi and Coca-Cola had initially lobbyed against the bill, which also calls for more recess for students.

At press time, the bill was headed to the Senate and is expected to pass.

Also this past month, Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick has proposed a 2% tax on fast food, in addition to the 6% sales tax already imposed on restaurant meals. The new tax would encompass all food sold at fast-food restaurants, including salads. If approved, it would contribute about $15 million a year to the struggling Detroit economy, Ceeon Quiett, a spokesperson for the mayor says. The Michigan city is faced with a $3 million budget deficit. Detroit voters would have to approve the tax.

“The mayor looked at several different revenue-generating ideas and this is the one that would have the least amount of impact,” Quiett says.