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Fresh Italy says no fat, no VAT

19 January 2006

A London fast-food operator is calling on the Government to penalise unhealthy food by taxing it more.

Tom Allchurch, founder of fresh fast-food chain Fresh Italy, is launching a "No Fat, No Vat" campaign which will link VAT to the "healthiness" of menu items.

The business is the first fast-food chain to impose the Food Standard Agency's "traffic light" system but will now go one step further, by removing VAT from the price customers pay for the healthiest choices.

For a week from 27 January, VAT will be cut on all green-light options, 8.75% VAT will be charged on amber-coded foods and the full 17.5% will be added to red-lighted dishes. The business will pick up the cost of lost VAT.

Allchurch said: "VAT on food should be used like the excise duty on tobacco and leaded petrol. It could raise taxes for hospitals and doctors, and cut consumption of unhealthy food. We predict that, once we remove the VAT, sales on green-light dishes will go up by 50%."

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