Don't tax milk substitutes

Philadelphia's beverage tax will be charged not only on soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks, but on almond milk, rice milk, and cashew milk ("Public meeting to be held on beverage tax," Oct. 13). I want to protest loudly.

My 14-year old daughter has been drinking almond milk all her life. After she was weaned from mother's milk, she could not digest cow's milk properly, and she is allergic to soy products, so we found almond milk. She has almond milk in her cereal, coffee, smoothies and baked goods I make at home.

To include almond milk with sweetened beverages is wrong. Many parents give their children almond, rice, or cashew milk as an alternative to cow's milk. Indeed, there are many Americans who cannot digest cow's milk and must rely on other beverages to substitute for milk.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine cite research that "approximately 70 percent of African Americans, 90 percent of Asian Americans, 53 percent of Mexican Americans, and 74 percent of Native Americans were lactose intolerant."

I urge Mayor Kenney and City Council to exclude almond, rice, and cashew milks from this tax. They are healthy substitutes for Philadelphians who cannot tolerate lactose.

|Michelle Pauls, Philadelphia,