PARIS Oct 24 French parliamentarians voted for
a new tax on energy drinks containing caffeine and the amino
acid taurine on Thursday, a second attempt to impose a charge on
the products after the first was overturned in court.
Dubbed the Red Bull amendment in local media after the
world's most popular energy drink, members of parliament voted
to approve a tax of one euro per litre from next year on drinks
that contain at least 0.22 grammes of caffeine per litre, or 0.3
grammes of taurine.
The new tax, which is aimed at promoting health by limiting
the consumption of such drinks, does not affect ordinary coffee.
A similar vote was overturned by the constitutional court
last year and the new tax could also be challenged in court by
the centre-right opposition, which was against the measure.
The latest amendment was launched by Socialist member of
parliament Gerard Bapt, a doctor, who argued that French studies
have shown the drinks can cause heart problems and
Red Bull, made by the company of the same name, which is
headquartered in Austria, has been on sale in France since 2008
after being banned for 12 years due to health authorities'
concerns about taurine.
Red Bull says on its website that health authorities around
the world have concluded its drink is safe.
The American Medical Association said in June it would
support a ban on the marketing of energy drinks to children
under 18, saying the beverages could cause heart problems and
other health issues.
(Reporting by Emile Picy, writing by Geert De Clercq, Editing
by Patrick Lannin)