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Red Bull welcomes French court action to strike out energy drink tax

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By Ben Bouckley+

18-Dec-2012
Last updated on 18-Dec-2012 at 17:18 GMT

Red Bull has welcomed a ruling from France’s highest constitutional court striking-down the government’s plans to tax caffeine and taurine-rich energy drinks from 2013.

The Conseil Constituionnel considered Article 25, situated in a general tax code section of the annual Loi de Finacement de la Sécurité Sociale pour 2013 (Social Security Finance Law 2013),  as part of its consideration of the government’s legislative plans for social security financing.

(The Conseil Constitutionnel ensures that the principles and rules of the French constitution are upheld, principally that statutes conform thereto after being voted through by Parliament, before they are signed into law by president François Hollande.)

The government’s planned to tax energy drinks at €50/hectoliter ($65.9 per US 26.4 gallons), ostensibly on public health grounds, to limit energy drink consumption with alcohol amongst young people in particular.

‘Rational and objective’ criteria lacking

But striking down Article 25, the court stated that the proposal was not based on ‘rational and objective’ criteria; a Red Bull spokeswoman told BeverageDaily.com this morning the firm “welcomes the ruling”.

“It appears that via the parliamentary work establishing this specific contribution [tax], the legislator intended to limit the consumption of ‘energy drinks’ rich in caffeine or taurine, which, mixed with alcohol, have negative consequences on the health of consumers, particularly the young.

“[But] in taxing drinks not containing alcohol, in the fight against alcohol consumption amongst the young, the legislator has established a tax which is not founded on objective and rational criteria in line with the objective followed.

“That, therefore, it has disregarded the demands of Article 12 of the 1789 Declaration.”

Blow to health minister

The tax is a blow to the Hollande administration in France, since health minister Marisol Touraine said in a late-October interview that she favored the principle of a specific tax on energy drinks.

Such drinks contained powerful stimulants, the health impact of which was under investigation by French public health agency ANSES (Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire), on her request, Touraine added.

But the French court decision will undoubtedly be greeted with relief, especially among smaller energy drink brands.

The owner of one of such French brand, Truc de Fou, told La Nouvel Observateur in October that he would have to lay off staff if the amendment instituting the tax became law.

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) France (which carries Monster and Burn within its French portfolio) did not reply to our request for comment prior to publication.

The full Conseil Constituionnel decision is available in French here .

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1 comment (Comments are now closed)

Stop mentioning Taurine!

You know where Taurine is also found in high amounts? Breast Milk, Soy Milk and many kinds of fish, among other places.

People think it is bad because they see it on the front of a can of Monster and assume THAT'S the problem. If they did any simple research, it would be easy to find that Taurine is not a problem.

I can't speak for the other ingredients, I'm just saying, people sound idiotic when mentioning Taurine in these articles.

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Posted by Mike D
18 December 2012 | 15h21

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