The prime minister is under growing pressure to reverse his opposition to a sugar tax, including from Growing Devon Schools partner and food teacher Joe Mann – one of 20 Government advisers on school food.
The owner of award-winning children’s cookery school Fun Kitchen, is urging Devon parents to petition David Cameron to introduce a 20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened drinks in a bid to lower childhood obesity.
The controversial levy would add around 7p to the price of a 330ml can of fizzy drink, and could raise up to a £1billion a year to be shared between the NHS and primary schools.
Joe said: “It’s the equivalent to an additional £2,000 cash to each and every primary school in Devon to promote health education and healthy diets.”
Recently Joe warned an invited group of school teachers and heads at a Growing Devon Schools event in Yelverton that one third of children are now overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school – up from a quarter just three years ago.
He said: “Only one in 100 parents of obese children are able to accurately classify them on the spectrum between underweight and clinically obese.
“No more than five per cent of our daily calories should come from sugar, less than six teaspoons for children. Yet one typical can of fizzy drink contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar.
“How many parents are aware that if their child had a large coke at the cinema they would be consuming 44 teaspoons at once?”
Joe is also campaigning to bring in a sugar tax as part of his role as Jamie Oliver’s South West Ambassador for School Education.
The celebrity chef has already imposed his own unofficial sugar tax in his restaurants, including in Exeter.
Jamie has published a five-point sugar manifesto in which, alongside the 20 per cent tax, he calls for televised junk food advertising to be banned before 9pm, and for the introduction of an additional compulsory labelling system showing sugary drinks’ sugar content in teaspoons.
His petition calling for a 7p levy on all cans of soft drink with added sugar has attracted around 150,000 signatures online. To sign the petition visit www.jamieoliver.com/sugar-rush