Coke CEO calls soft-drink tax ‘outrageous’

Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent left no doubt where he stood on proposals to put a government tax on soft drinks.

“I think it’s outrageous,” said Kent, speaking Monday to the Rotary Club of Atlanta. “I think it’s outrageous because I have never seen it work where a government tells people what to eat and what to drink.”

Some politicians and health advocates have said a tax on soft drinks could raise money for health care and reduce obesity. Kent compared it to the Soviet Union trying to control food supplies.

A quarter of Coca-Cola’s global portfolio is made of no- or low-calorie beverages, Kent said. None of Coca-Cola’s drinks are unhealthy, he said.

Moderation, variety and an active lifestyle are the keys to being healthy, Kent said. Atlanta-based Coca-Cola is the world’s largest beverage firm.