Tax on sugary drinks in Italy

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Latest news from Montecitorio, the proposal to introduce a tax on sugary drinks in Italy (so-called Soda Tax).

Tax on sugary drinks in Italy, the background

The proposal for a ‘
Soda Tax
‘ comes from Hon. Carla Ruocco, M5S, a member of the VI Commission (Finance) of the Chamber of Deputies. Who proposed an amendment, to the financial maneuver, which has already been signed by some majority deputies.

The proposal to tax sugary drinks fulfills a first objective of current and concrete interest. Cover the IRAP exclusion of VAT numbers up to 100,000 euros. And to a second, equally crucial goal, funding universities and research.




The broader objective




– as clarified by the V.Minister for Education, University and Research



Lorenzo Fioramonti



– is to achieve the reformulation

of beverages and reduce sugar intake in the Italian population. With a definite public health benefit, demonstrated by positive experiences in other countries. (1)




The previous government




had in turn announced such a levy, just a year ago

. It was then-Minister Carlo Padoan who announced the maneuver, only to be denied by his Colleague Maurizio Martina.



Soda Tax

i
n Italy, the good reasons

Sugar in beverages is excessive, unnecessary and detrimental to public health. Its content in a can borders on 2/3 of the average daily threshold recommended for an adult, as we found in special market survey.

Obesity and childhood overweight in the Bel Paese are to date without an adequate monitoring system, but they have already reached an alarming level. With a prevalence approaching one in three individuals, in the youth population.

Theincidence of diabetes in Italy, in turn, more than doubled in the period 1980-2013. 1.6 million to 3.4 million, nearly 6 percent of the population, with 800,000 new diagnoses in the 2000-2010 decade alone.

The World Health Organization (WHO/WHO) has intervened several times to address the emergence of obesity, overweight, and related diseases. In particular:



– 2015,




WHO Europe




has developed a model of nutritional profiles

. With the idea of distinguishing the


junk-food




(junk-food, or ‘of indulgence’), the consumption of which must be minimized, in frequency and quantity, (2)

– In 2016, WHO proposed the adoption of appropriate fiscal measures to discourage the consumption ofHigh Fats, Sugar and Sodium (HFSS) foods. And encourage, at the same time, fresh fruit and vegetable intakes. (3)




The sugary drinks




sold in Italy today contain twice as much sugar



compared to the same ‘




soft drinks


‘ sold in England. The reason for this, essentially, is due to the ‘Soda Tax‘ introduced in the UK in April 2018. An example to follow as soon as possible.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) See scientific studies published by WHO, British Medical Journal, Health Affairs, PLOS Medicine



(2) Cf. ‘




WHO Regional Office for Europe nutrient profile model




‘, at




http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/nutrition/publications/2015/who-regional-office-for-europe-nutrient-profile-model-2015


(3) See report ‘Fiscal policies for Diet and Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs)‘, WHO (World Health Organization), on http://www.who.int/en/news-room/detail/11-10-2016-who-urges-global-action-to-curtail-consumption-and-health-impacts-of-sugary-drinks

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.