“Most drinks called ‘light’ or ‘zero’ are completely sugar-free, calorie-free so “, said Tuesday the trade association of Belgian industry refreshing waters and beverages (FIEB). For the Federation, the beverage tax announced Saturday by Michel government is a tax measure and not a measure to improve public health.

Minister of Maggie De Block Health said Monday that the Aspartame, an artificial sweetener found in many drinks ‘light’, has harmful side effects on health. If the product remains controversial in public opinion, the FIEB reiterates, however, has undergone a complete re-evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2013, and that aspartame was declared “safe for human consumption.”

For the consumer association Test Achats, it is “obvious that this measure is budgetary, not public health.” “The opportunity to include or not include drinks light / zero in this tax should have been analyzed in depth, several currently existing conflicting studies about their impact on obesity,” notes the association.

Test Achats also regrets that the federal government did not wait for the results of the national food consumption survey in progress, most recently in 2004. “It would allow to better target the type of problem drinks, as well as measures to take and to educate the public, “said the association.

Beyond diet drinks, the effectiveness of a tax on sugary drinks to fight against obesity” does not unanimously among scientists, “added the FIEB. “According to an article published by Test Achats in May 2015, should be an increase of 20% (the price of the drinks, note) that such a tax to be effective,” said the Consumer Association.

The government said Saturday that sugary drinks will be taxed by way of excise duty: 0.03 euros for a liter bottle and 0.01 euro for 33 cl cans.

Maggie De Block acknowledged Monday that the beverage tax would have deserved to be studied more thoroughly. “The taxshift arrived faster than expected,” admitted Ms De Block broadcast on VRT.

Moreover, the announced tax delights including francophone Belgian Dental Association, for which the acidity that contain soda (sweetened or not) “causes erosion of tooth enamel and contribute to tooth destruction.” These light version products are not products to be consumed every day, says the association in a statement.