French Health Minister, Roselyne Bachelot, has rejected calls for a higher tax on foods considered to be unhealthy.
A French parliamentary report released on Tuesday outlined 70 proposals for tackling obesity, including a controversial “junk food tax” that would increase the tax applied to certain food products. It would result in high fat, high sugar and high salt foods commanding a VAT (Value Added Tax) of almost 20%, well above the current 5.5% level.
Ms Bachelot cited concerns of the impact of such a tax on lower socio-economic groups and suggested that any health plan “should not go in that direction”.
The other issue would be the implementation of such a scheme, as there can be a grey area with some foods as to their true nutritional benefit. For example, high fat doesn’t necessarily mean the food is unhealthy, as there are a number of healthy fats considered important in the human diet. Additionally, would a food with medium fat, sugar and salt levels avoid the tax while a product high in fat but low in sugar and salt be subject to the higher tax?
The suggestion of lowering the VAT, from 5.5% to just over 2%, for fruit and vegetables was also mooted, with Ms Bachelot not ruling out the idea being considered at some stage in the future.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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