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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Sugar levy. The bill provides for the exclusion of drinks with natural sugars from juices from the sugar fee

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Changes to the sugar levy are coming. The amendment to the Act provides for the exclusion from the fee of drinks containing only sugars naturally contained in the juice and nectars from highly acidic fruits used in their production, the juice of which is not suitable for direct consumption.

On Saturday, a draft bill amending the Public Health Act was published at the Government Legislation Center. The applicant of the project is Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Exclusions from the list of chargeable drinks

The Regulatory Impact Assessment explains that the amendment to the Act assumes the exclusion from the list of drinks subject to a food tax (sugar tax): drinks containing only sugars naturally contained in the fruit or vegetable juice used for their production, “because they are so really juices diluted with water and not sweetened with sugars or sweeteners” and fruit nectars from fruits with high acidity, the juice from which is not suitable for direct consumption (i.e. products requiring sweetening, e.g. blackcurrant), even if they contain more than 5 g of sugar per 100 ml.

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In addition, it is proposed to cover syrups with sugar or glucose-fructose syrup as the first ingredient in the levy, which were “ordinary” foodstuffs before the levy was introduced, and which, after the levy was introduced, were placed on the market as dietary supplements.

The RIA indicates that in order to “stimulate health-promoting consumer choices, from January 1, 2021, a fee on foodstuffs (sugar levy) was introduced, which increases the prices of sweetened drinks and drinks containing caffeine or taurine.” It was reported that this fee was introduced to encourage producers to reduce the amount of sweeteners and consumers to choose healthier products.

Fruit nectars with high acidity

However, it was noted that the fee currently covers nectars from highly acidic fruit, the juice from which is not suitable for direct consumption, and juices diluted with water.

“On the beverage market, the above-mentioned products compete with cheaper drinks in terms of production costs, which contain only water with added aromas, colors and sugars. Hence, the exclusion of fruit nectars with high acidity and juices diluted with water from the catalog of beverages subject to a tax on funds. foodstuffs would contribute to increasing their attractiveness and would also have a positive impact on the use of the national fruit and vegetable production potential and the situation of farms,” ​​it was concluded.

The sugar levy on sweetened drinks has been in force since the beginning of 2021. It rests with producers and importers. The funds from the fee go to the National Health Fund.

Read also: Sugar levy under fire. “This is a serious problem for the entire domestic fruit market”

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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