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Israel to Tax All Sweetened Drinks Starting January

avatar by i24 News

Illustration photo of Coca-Cola Zero beverages at the Rami Levi Supermarket in Israel. Dec. 3, 2014. Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90.

i24 News – Starting in January, most sweetened drinks in Israel will be taxed.

The Israeli parliament’s Finance Committee approved the tax on Tuesday that will apply to nearly all drinks — sugared drinks, diet drinks, and natural juices — with the goal to reduce Israelis’ heavy consumption of sweetened drinks.

Such a move is an effort to combat maladies such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, artery disease, and cavities, urging people to switch to water.

Sugared drinks will be taxed $0.32 per liter, which will be directed at any drink with more than five grams of sugar per 100 milliliters.

For diet drinks and natural juices, the tax will be $0.22 per liter, while the Finance Commitee exempted natural grape juice and lemon juice.

Many observant Jews uses grape juice as an alternative option to wine during Shabbat and holidays such as Passover.

“Hopefully raising a little bit the price of those beverages will help people choose better,” Sivan Ben Avraham Shulman, a clinical dietician and epidemiologist, told i24 News.

Shulman said that while diet drinks and natural juices are not as damaging as sugared drinks, it is still important to try and reduce consumption of these drinks as well.

“Drinking a sweet drink is a bad habit that should be stopped, so this is another reason to tax those drinks as well,” Shulman added.

She said that initiatives such as taxing sweetened drinks raise awareness about how unhealthy certain food and drinks can be, using the example of how awareness was raised about the damage of cigarettes, which is now widely known.

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