The French government banned the unlimited refill of soda drinks as they are trying to lower obesity rates. The decree came out today and now restaurants, hotels, and fast food chains are prohibited to offer free refills to their customer’s drinks.
This initiative comes as a response to a law concerning public health that came out last year. The authorities thought that one of the best methods to combat obesity is to prevent people from abusing on sugary drinks. Thus, if they want a refill to their soda, they have to pay extra.
Besides soda, the other banned drinks are fruit syrups, fruit nectar, vegetable nectar, and other similar beverages that contain high amounts of sugar.
As a consequence, Ikea has already removed the drink fountains from their 33 French stores. Also, the fast food chain Quick announced they would do the same with all their drinking machines starting today. Other chains, however, did not take such drastic measures. The burger place Five Guys added microchips to their cups so that they would know when customers are trying to refill their drinks.
Although France enforced this ban, it is one of the countries with the lowest obesity rates in the developed world. Marisol Touraine, the health minister, declared that this ban was meant to prevent this refill policy to become a custom in France.
This trend spread rapidly from other countries and it had already started gaining popularity in France. The minister explained that it had the potential to pose health risks, since the appeal it had to people was understandable. Children and teenagers were the most likely to be trapped by this refill trend.
However, this was not the first time when France issued laws that banned products considered harmful for young people. In 2004, vending machines were made to sell only fruits and water. In 2011, school cafeterias were banned from using ketchup and they were only allowed to serve fries once a week.
Some of you may think that a ban on the refill of soda would be necessary for the United States. Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, tried to prohibit the sale of large soda drinks in bars, restaurants, and cafes. However, this ban was regarded as unconstitutional.
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