Polish Finance Ministry denies junk food tax plans

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Polish Finance Ministry denies junk food tax plans
The Polish Ministry of Finance has released a statement denying previous intentions to introduce a new tax on food products that contain high levels of sugar, fat and salt.

In a brief statement released last week, the ministry said: “In connection with the press release concerning the introduction of a tax on sugar and salt products, the Ministry of Finance informs that it is not currently carrying out such work.”

The comments come after the state-run news outlet, thenews.pl,​ quoted a report from Polish newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (Daily Legal Newspaper) describing the country’s Finance Ministry plans to slap a tax on junk food.

It said that whilst legislation of this kind could prove more effective in improving health than ordinary tax measures, Polish food producers argued such a tax could only work in highly developed economies.

They added that in a country like Poland it could limit access to certain products for many consumers.

Junk food levy in Europe

Similar to junk food taxes already in place, plans by the Ministry involved taxing products according to the amount of sugar it contained. Revenue from the levy was estimated to be around €69.9m (PLN 300m) per year.

In Europe, countries such as the United Kingdom and Spain have applied a levy on junk food in an attempt to reduce consumption of these foods and curb spiralling obesity rates.

In Eastern Europe, Hungary appears to be making the most headway with a comprehensive program of measures that impose taxes on certain salty and sugary packaged foods. Energy drinks were also included in the action.

In 2010, Romania was to become the first country to introduce a junk food tax, when plans were abandoned over implementation concerns and the risk of job losses.

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