Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall call for tax on milk drinks

Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall call for tax on milk drinks

Celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have called for milk drinks to come under the same sugar tax as high-sugar soft drinks.

Under the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, milk-based drinks are exempt, yet many can still contain as much as nine or 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Speaking at a Health and Social Care Select Committee, Oliver said: “There is some logic to opening it out to milk products, which are jam-packed with additives and sugar and they’re currently outside of that taxing,” although he added that the “tax whip” should be used “sparingly”.

Oliver stressed that the money raised through the tax should be a “progressive force for good”. Funds are going to school breakfast clubs and sporting initiatives.

The celebrity chefs also called for a ban on junk food advertising before 9pm, arguing that Saturday night entertainment programmes are targeting children and getting around the current rules that dictate a 6pm watershed.

Fearnley-Whittingstall highlighted his concern at low vegetable consumption, with sales declining, and said that “Ofsted needs to assess the quality of school meals and the quality of food education”.

It is expected that the next part of the Childhood Obesity Strategy, due out later this year, will implement change in these areas.

Picture credit: David Loftus