France Just Made Free Refills Illegal—Here’s Why

france bans free refills

The case against sugar and diet sweeteners is mounting, and in an effort to reduce rates of obesity, diabetes, and all manner of other afflictions linked to the consumption of sweets, local and national governments are taking action. In the United States, we’ve seen a number of cities put soda taxes—or taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages—on the ballot. And in a bold and broad stroke, France has just banned unlimited refills on sugary drinks.

The law takes aim at self-service soda fountains—long a favored feature of fast-food restaurants and diners—in all public eateries (restaurants, school cafeterias, and other foodservice establishments) where free refills are copious and endless are affected. Though the law was devised to reduce consumption soda and sports drinks with added sugar and sweeteners, it also applies to milk, energy drinks, fruit syrups or nectars, and sweetened water drinks.

The law is in line with recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO), which advises taxing sugary drinks, linking them to obesity and diabetes. It also follows existing legislation: France already has a soft drinks tax and has barred vending machines from schools.

A recent survey by Eurostat found that 15.3% of adults in France suffer from obesity, even amongst men and women. Adults aged 65 to 74 have the highest rates of obesity.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), France has the 21st highest rate of obesity worldwide. The United States has the highest rate of obesity, with 36.8% of women and 36.1% of men suffering from the condition.

Are there legal measures against sugar consumption where you live? What measures would you like to see? Share with us below.