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Sugar tax and plastic tax, Italian-style referrals and discounts. Myopia at a high price

New hole in the water for the sugar tax and the plastic tax in Italy. The two fiscal measures applied elsewhere to guide the reformulation of soft drinks responsible for obesity, tooth decay and metabolic diseases and to reduce the consumption of resources for disposable plastics (which we find fragmented even in the placenta), in the Bel Paese have been postponed again, inserted in the conversion into law (protected by a vote of confidence) of the 'Superbonus' Legislative Decree (39/2024). (1)

Deaf to the repeated requests of civil society and international health authorities, but attentive to the demands of the industries, the representatives of the majority political parties have staged a competition to obey the lobbies, with the only advantage of 'transparency'. In good memory.

Sugar tax, the bitter taste in the mouth

Taxation of sweetened soft drinks with sugar or other sweeteners, introduced in 2020 by the Conte II government, was opposed in every way by the soft drinks industry mostly based on water, sugar and synthetic flavourings. Products with an unhealthy nutritional profile, which are already subject to reduced VAT (10%) unlike the best freshly squeezed orange juices (22%), as we have seen. (2)

Against the sugar tax, the sector industry first appealed to the TAR for tax inequity. Attempt rejected by the sender by the Constitutional Court. (3)

Ahead of entry into force, on 1 July 2024, the usual ballet began: pressure on friendly parties, false declarations on the hypothetical ineffectiveness of the measure (instead demonstrated in the countries where it is already in force) and economic damage, in this case with the blackmail of jobs risk. A consolidated technique, as we have seen, in Big Food's fight against the WHO recommendations. (4)

The result, initially limited to halving the tax (from 10 to 5 cents per hectoliter) for two years, was finally the postponement of the sugar tax for one year, to July 2025, XNUMX.

Plastic tax, new postponement

The plastic tax, also introduced with the 2020 budget law, is postponed again by two years, July 2026.

The measure aims to reduce the consumption of certain types of single-use plastic packaging, made entirely from the consumption of new resources, through a tax of 450 euros per tonne.

Compostable and recycled plastics, even in part, are in fact excluded from single-use products subject to the target tax (as well as medical devices and pharmaceutical packaging).

Myopia and the need to obey the orders of the lobbies also in this case penalizes the health of the population.

Combined with opposition to the deposit system (DRS) on disposable plastic bottles - valuable for eliminating the dispersion of waste and fueling recycling -, (5) the sinking of the plastic tax sounds like an invitation to further pollute the environment and food with polymers in nanometric form they have already been found in the lungs, placenta and other organs of the human body. (6)

Marta Strinati


(1) See https://www.senato.it/leg/19/BGT/Schede/Ddliter/58131.htm

(2) Marta Strinati. Orange-based juices, juices and drinks. 50 in comparison. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(3) Marta Strinati. Green light from the Constitutional Court to the sugar tax. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(4) Marta Strinati, Dario Dongo. Nutrition and health, here's how Big Food stands in the way of the WHO. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(5) Marta Strinati. DRS, Deposit Return Scheme. Three textbook cases. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(6) Marta Strinati. Microplastics, a new cardiovascular risk factor. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

Marta Strinati

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".

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