Reducing Sugary Beverages: The Nuclear Option

Is the mayor soft on soda?

If the Mayor wants to be serious about getting sugary drinks out of the hands of Philadelphia citizens, the proposed tax of 2 cents per ounce is a weak, baby step. Are you ready do to what it takes to get it done, Mr. Mayor? Let’s do this.

First, it’s no secret that people already have tremendous supplies of sugary drinks stockpiled in their homes and workplaces. I have half a case of Honest Tea in my own basement. The city needs to step up with an amnesty program allowing people who do have sugary drinks at home to drop them off without penalty or stigma. If you want to get the stuff off the streets, get real about it and get serious.[SIGNUP]

Step two: border enforcement. That means dedicated patrols at the bridges from New Jersey, at Interstate 95, the Schuylkill Expressway, the airport, 30th Street Station, Tioga Marine Terminal, and all up and down City Line Avenue. If you think a lot of guns are coming into the city, don’t even think about the Red Bull and Vitamin Water barreling down the pike in every SUV cupholder. This stuff is just flowing into our borders, unchecked, and who knows where it ends up. I have even heard of sugary beverages being sold in ultra-concentrated syrup form or as a refined powder, or crystals.

Which leads me to step three: bomb the high-fructose corn syrup factories. That’s right — locate them and take them out. It’s an extreme step, but not unprecedented. If we are truly serious about reducing the city’s exposure to sugary drinks, it’s one well worth taking.

DON STEINBERG is a Philly Mag contributing editor and author of Jokes Every Man Should Know.