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Mexico’s upper house has backed plans for a tax on high-calorie foods – and put forward a higher levy than had been proposed.

The Mexican Senate voted to place an 8% tax, instead of the 5% levy that had been backed by the country’s lower house.

Products with at least 275 kilocalories per 100 grams, which would include snacks, confectionery and ice cream, would be subject to the tax.

The levy is part of a wide package of tax reforms put forward by the Mexican government, including a 1% levy on sugary drinks. The Senate voted for a higher junk food tax after cutting income tax for some earners. The changes to the package, that had been cleared by the Mexican Congress, mean the lower house will have to vote again on the revised proposals.

The Mexican government is looking to boost economic growth through a range of fiscal measures, including cutting taxes on the country’s oil industry.

It is also looking to tackle the country’s obesity rate. According to UN data, Mexico’s adult obesity rate was 32.8% in 2008, the second-highest rate in the Americas – and higher than the US.

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By GlobalData