Fat, salt and sugar taxes in EU Member States - Delivering economic and health gains? - Workshop

19 June 2013


Some European countries, including Denmark, France and Hungary, have recently introduced taxes on food and drink in an effort to improve the overall health of the population. However, the introduction of such taxes has proved controversial, and their effectiveness in terms of economic and health gains difficult to evaluate.

The discussion reminded that, while taxation can be one measure used to promote health, it is not enough in itself and more must be done to combat obesity and improve the overall health status of the population. Taxation of food and drink products is clearly a highly controversial and complex issue, and there is a need for more evidence of taxation as an effective health and/or fiscal measure. Governments must be very careful when designing health and fiscal policies involving food taxation, and revenue generated from such taxes should be used to benefit the population, for example by funding national health initiatives. While some EU Member States have observed positive effects, others have experienced numerous problems in implementing food taxes, and it must also be noted that public support is imperative in order for taxes to be effective.

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