Taxes on everyday grocery items are just bad policy. American families and consumers are best served when industry, government and public health organizations work together.

Consumers can decide for themselves what to eat and drink, and they want transparency about ingredients, good nutritional informational and a variety of options to make the choices that are right for them.

What we don’t need is government telling us what to eat and drink. Using the tax code to force us to buy the foods and beverages they want is going too far.

We all agree that we want a stronger, healthier America. The better way to get there is for government, companies and public health to work together toward meaningful solutions that empower and educate individuals and families.

For example, America’s beverage companies listened to parents’ desire to limit their kids’ calories in schools by voluntarily removing full-calorie sodas from schools and replacing them with lower-calorie options. Beverage calories in schools were reduced by more than 90 percent as a result.

Food and beverage companies joined with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation – a nonprofit that seeks to reduce obesity – to offer and promote more low-calorie options in grocery aisles. In just two years, the companies removed 6.4 trillion calories from the American diet. No government regulation or taxation was necessary.

Another example is when beverage-makers placed prominent, easy-to-read calorie counts on the front of all of their cans and bottles even though the count was only required to be on the back, embedded in a nutrition facts panel. Now everyone can see clearly how many calories they are consuming and how many food producers are following suit.

Efforts like these make a real difference without government taxes and bans that only raise costs and restrict our freedom to choose what is best for ourselves and our families. Information, education and the food and beverage options to act on them – that is the better way of promoting healthy lifestyles and protecting consumer choice.

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