I recently read this great Salon article/ interview about defining what candy means in the U.S. It started off discussing how Washington is one of the latest states to decide to add a sin tax to any candy purchased within it’s borders. Of course, this meant Washington had to pin a fine point on what candy is defined as, and they chose “”a preparation of sugar, honey, or other natural or artificial sweeteners combined with chocolate, fruits, nuts, or other ingredients or flavorings and formed into bars, drops, or pieces.” That means if it has flour in it, it is considered a “food” and therefore not taxed.
The crazy results were that some foods typically considered candy were not, simply because they contained flour. A Hershey’s Bar, for instance, is candy, but a Nestle Crunch bar is considered food because it has flour in it. How does that make sense?!
Apparently, candy is so difficult to define because it is not a specific substance, but rather a feeling about the substance. Candy equals pleasure, however, candy is also one of those foods that has a negative association tied to it. It is often described as a “bad” or “sinful” food, and people who eat it are judged similarly.
So with that in mind, is this redefining of what candy is by the state of Washington even necessary? Clearly, by stating that the lack of flour equals candy draws an unfair line across the common candy spectrum, where some candy is not considered candy, and some is.
And what the hell is this about a sin tax? I thought the U.S. was not a country that was going to force their citizens to eat one way or the other. Remember prohibition? Since when does making something forbidden ever make people want less of it?
So many issues to consider. What do you think? Are you for a sin tax? Do you agree with Washington’s definition of candy?