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Senators call for ‘Nutella tax’

Popular chocolate spread would be one of the main products hit if a planned 300% hike in palm oil tax goes ahead

SENATORS have called for tax on palm oil to be quadrupled in a move that has been dubbed “the Nutella tax”.

A 300% rise in tax on the oil has been agreed in an amendment to next year’s social security budget law proposed by Socialist senator Yves Daudigny. The measure, which relates to the “special taxes” levied on food oils, would bring in an extra €40 million a year, which would go towards funding social security.

Palm oil is said to contribute to obesity and heart disease and is found in Nutella chocolate spread, but also many other products including certain biscuits and viennoiseries. French people eat about 2kg of it per year.

According to Le Figaro it could mean an extra six centimes per Nutella pot if the manufacturers pass on the cost to the customers, howwever it may encourage manufacturers to use a different oil, or to shave their margins.

The president of food industry body Ania, Jean-René Buisson said on radio station Europe 1 that food taxes should not be seen as a handy variable to balance out every economic problem that comes along.

“All legal food products are good for health if they are eaten in moderation,” he said.

The rise would equate to an extra €300 per tonne of oil (more than 40% of the cost of the oil on the world markets – €687 per tonne). However at present palm oil is taxed only half as much as olive oil, which is considered healthier.

The social security budget law will be debated in the Senate from Monday.

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