Ireland May Tax Sugar to Fight Obesity

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Government officials in Ireland are considering imposing a sugar tax on certain foods, particularly soft drinks, in an effort to fight obesity.

Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes currently kills three out of every five people in Ireland every year

Dr. James O'Reilly, the country's health minister, wants new laws to help cut down on that epidemic, according to a report by the Irish Independent.

O'Reilly said he has been looking at similar models introduced in New York and in France, with the aim of reducing the Irish intake of sugar to help stop obesity and the epidemic of diseases that it brings.

However, the Food and Drink Industry Ireland said such a tax would mean the loss of 230,000 jobs in the country's food and drink sector.

"The industry has been highlighted by many as a vehicle for Irish economic recovery; any move to impose a discriminatory tax on the sector would potentially stunt this future potential growth and ultimately result in job losses," a spokeswoman told the newspaper.

The proposed sugar tax isn't the only measure O'Reilly is considering. He has also written a letter addressed to all of the fast food operators in the country, asking them to label all of their menus with calorie counts.

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