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French MPs want new tax to tackle France's salt addiction

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French MPs want new tax to tackle France's salt addiction
Photo: AFP
15:26 CEST+02:00
French MPs aim to introduce a new tax on salty foods in a bid to reduce the amount consumed in France where the intake of salt exceeds the recommended amount by a whopping 60 percent.
French food might be known for being mouthwatering but all those delicious cheeses, baguettes and saucissons don't exactly help minimize your salt intake. 
 
In fact, the French consume an average of 8 grams of salt per day while the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a maximum of 5 grams each day. 
 
That means the French exceed the recommended intake of salt by 60 percent. 
 
But now a group of 20 French MPs -- all members of a committee carrying out an inquiry into industrial food production -- is hoping to change all that by bringing in a tax on salty foods to encourage manufacturers to decrease the amount they include in their products, according to Le Figaro. 
 
These MPs argue that at the moment consumers are too limited by what's on the supermarket shelves. 
 
"The consumer has no choice: most of the salt that they eat is found in pre-prepared dishes" with the consumption of these kinds of meals "exploding in recent years", said the committee's spokesperson, MP for La Republique en Marche Michele Crouzet.
 
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Photo: AFP
 
"The primary goal is to be able to provide a healthy and above all nutrient-rich diet for everyone," she said.
 
And this isn't the first move that's been made against salty foods in France. 
 
In 2010, 19 major food production companies including French agri-food business Fleury-Michon, Maggi and Findus, committed themselves to reducing the amount of salt used in their products. 
 
And in May 2015, a new agreement was signed by the industrial producers of charcuterie in which they promised to reduce the amount of salt and fat in 12 new products by 5 percent.
 
However, the MPs behind this new push have said it isn't enough.
 
"Nothing justifies the amount [of salt] that is found in many dishes," said Crouzet.
 
The move comes after a 'soda tax' was rolled out in 2013 in France in an attempt to tackle obesity, with that levy seeing all fizzy drinks with added sugar taxed at €7.5 euros a hectolitre (equal to 100 litres).
 
At the moment, it is unclear whether a salt tax would take the same form if it were to be introduced. 
 
The report is due to be presented at the end of September. 
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