Jamie Oliver has officially declared war on sugar by launching an online Government petition calling for a sugar tax.
The celebrity chef, who has been a long-term advocator of healthy food, is asking politicians to introduce a policy to tax sugary drinks at 7p per can that will go to the NHS and “help improve children’s lives".
The public have until February 26, 2016 to sign the petition and 100,000 signatures are needed for the issue to be debated in Parliament.
This is not the first time the TV chef has called for a sugar tax. Earlier this year he said: “It should be taxed, just like tobacco”. He was also behind a Channel 4 documentary “Sugar Rush”, investigating the role of sugar on global health problems
Oliver said the introduction of a 7p sugar tax will raise £1bn to help the NHS fight obesity.
However the soft drinks industry uses international research to warn against Jamie Oliver's effort and claim he does not have a foundation for his petition.
Gavin Partington, the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) said:
Jamie Oliver deserves credit for his efforts to encourage healthy, balanced diets, particularly in schools, but on this issue the evidence does not support his case.
“The soft drinks tax in Mexico has reduced average calorie intake by 6 calories per day and a model promoted by campaigners in the UK suggests a 20% soft drinks tax would reduce it by a mere 4 calories per day.
"By contrast, the efforts by soft drinks companies including product reformulation, smaller pack sizes and increased promotion of low and no calorie drinks have led to a 7% reduction in calories from soft drinks in the last three years.”
Soft drink suppliers and Jamie Oliver have been contacted for comment.