Restaurants in France face prosecution starting today if they offer unlimited soda drinks to customers in the latest Gallic crackdown on obesity, reports the Telegraph.
France had already slapped a tax on sweet drinks in 2012. Now, a new decree makes it illegal to sell unlimited amounts of drinks with sugar or sweetener at a fixed price or for free.
Out of bounds are unlimited “flavoured fizzy and non-fizzy drinks, concentrated drinks like fruit syrups, drinks based on water, milk, cereal, vegetables or fruit”, but also “sports and energy drinks, fruit nectar, vegetable nectar and similar products”.
Parliament approved the ban in April 2015 and enshrined it in a health law in January 2016 as part of drive to reduce obesity.
France started cracking down on the causes of obesity in 2004, when it limited school vending-machines to selling fruit and water.
In 2011 the government banned ketchup from school cafeterias and only allowed chips on the menu once a week. “France must be an example to the world in the quality of its food, starting with its children,” said the then agriculture and food minister Bruno Le Maire. A soda drink tax ensued.
It appears the measures are working, as the French consume fewer soft drinks per person than any other country in Western Europe bar Portugal, recent research suggested.
The French drank 65.5 litres per capita of sweet drinks in 2015 compared to 106.6 litres in Britain, according to figures cited by Le Figaro.
The Americans consume more than twice as many soft drinks as the French, drinking 155 litres per capita in 2014, according to NPD group findings.