Non-Alcoholic

France bans sugary soda refills

Strategy Room: Jeanne Zaino and Brian Morgenstern on whether local officials went overboard

 

Oenophiles from around the world may flock to France for pricey vintages but it turns out locals have been sipping something much sweeter-- and less expensive-- as of late.

To curb rising obesity rates, France has passed a new law barring restaurants from giving customers refills on sugary drinks—though the practice of offering free refills from self-service soda fountains has been uncommon throughout the country.

The law, which prohibits restaurants, hotels and catering facilities from allowing customers to top up drinks for free went into effect on Friday. The ban applies to all sweetened soft drinks.

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The ban on free refills is part of an all-encompassing new public health law passed a year ago.

Last year, the country’s Health Minister Marisol Touraine explained she wanted to prevent the free-refill policies common in other countries from spreading to France.

Though France has some of the lowest obesity and overweight rates among developed countries, statistics show the numbers have been steadily increasing. In 2004, French lawmakers voted to remove all candy machines from schools. And in 2011, the country passed a law mandating that school cafeterias only be permitted to serve french fries once a week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.