Navajo Nation removes tax on healthy produce, raises tax on junk food in public health effort
‘In December, Berkeley, California, became the first city in the U.S. to pass a soda tax. Navajo Nation, however, is taking this one step
further. After almost four years of legislative battle and several attempts, Navajo Nation will become the first place to implement a 2 percent tax on
junk food or food items with “minimal-to-no-nutritional value”. The tax will expire and be revised in 2020.
Last year, Navajo implemented an amendment that removed the 5 percent tax on the sale of fresh fruits and vegetables.
For the Dine Community Advocacy Alliance (DCAA), a group made up of volunteers grievously concerned about diabetes and obesity rates on the
reservation, the tax is another major achievement.’
I think this idea is long overdue. The US government should institute tax breaks for all businesses that put an emphasis on healthy food. The
farmer's would benefit from a system that rewards their customers. However, there are many uses for vegetables that become unhealthy choices once
they are used in manufacturing.
I wonder how the potato/corn chip industry would go about changing the way they manufacture their products so they fit in the "healthy choice"
category. What kind of issues will the candy manufacturers need to overcome for them to get their products in this category? I mean the term "junk
food" is usually relegated to items that are fried, full of sugar or fattening, right?
Diabetes and obesity are not just going to disappear because they change the taxes. Eating habits can be just as unhealthy even when you think they
are not. Overeating foods that you think are healthy can be detrimental.
For instance, juices contain sugar and if you drink too much of them they can blow up your blood-sugar, as opposed to eating fruit which will release
the sugar into your system gradually and not overload your system. Bread is another item that can be termed healthy, but too much of it will also
affect your sugar levels.
Does this affect the fast food industry? What about pizza? Does cheese qualify as healthy food? Is it healthy for a restaurant to offer broccoli
with melted cheese? I mean where to you draw the line and who exactly is going to get these tax benefits? Is the fruit/vegetable stand the only
place you can actually give a tax break to consumers? Grocery stores that sell fruit/vegetables shouldn't have to pay taxes on them and obviously the
consumer would not have to. Do the frozen foods get a tax break if they are fruits and vegetables? Do the juices become tax free?
The Navajo plan seems to just target healthy produce, but should it stop there? If they really want to combat diabetes and obesity they should be
offering incentives to people to take classes on proper eating habits and give them tax breaks for taking exercise courses; make it tax free to buy
the proper equipment for home gyms and clothing for workouts.
I would like to see more convenient stores have a better selection of fruits and vegetables and maybe this would be a way to facilitate that. They
are the worst places to try and buy healthy food. There are many canned foods that would be affected by this too, right? Of course, even those can
be loaded with many unhealthy additives and preservatives, tons of salt and sugar, so where do they draw that line on what is nutritional and what
I mean it is a great idea, but is it feasible? How would it be regulated properly? Don't you think many companies would find ways to circumvent this
and take advantage of paying less taxes?
edit on 29-9-2015 by soulpowertothendegree because: (no reason given)