France considering raising tax on fatty foods

Cheese, pastries, foie gras - France's culinary delights are full of dietary sins. Now child obesity is rising and the myth is fading that French people can eat anything and stay thin. So the government is fighting back. The latest anti-fat idea being presented to French officialdom: an increase in sales taxes on extra-fatty, salty or sugary products. Previous government efforts included posters suggesting that subway riders take the stairs instead of escalators, and advisories prominently displayed on ads for junk food telling people to eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day. An expert report suggesting increasing taxes on unhealthy food items from the current 5.5 percent to up to 19.6 percent, was submitted to the health and budget ministries in late July, an official from the Budget Ministry confirmed Wednesday. The official could not be cited by name because of ministry rules. The findings of the report - which remains confidential because it is still under discussion - were leaked to Les Echos newspaper Tuesday.