From September onwards, Hungary will increase taxes on food products that are high in fat, sugar and salt. EPHA sent an open letter to the Hungarian government to welcome this initiative as a bold step forward in the fight against overweight, obesity and diet-related diseases.
In its Open Letter, EPHA considers that the impact of fiscal measures applied to food policy can be significant, when combined with health promotion measures designed to increase awareness of the health issues associated with a poor diet.
In addition, EPHA would recommend that the Hungarian government consider using other pricing mechanisms or subsidies to make the healthy options of fruit, vegetables, wholegrain cereals and pulses more widely available and affordable.
An increase of 250 forints (0.9 euros) will apply per litre of sodas. The tax on biscuits and snacks will be double (from 100 to 200 forints)
According to the Hungarian government, the tax would raise around 30 billion forints (111 million euro), to be used to fund the national healthcare system that has been strongly affected by the economic crisis.
While high level organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are increasingly discussing the use of taxation as a mean to influence people’s consumption, the issue is still controversial in many countries.
EPHA hopes that this will lead other countries in Europe to take positive action to tackle this issue.