French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot has ruled out varying the rate of value added tax (VAT) on foods based on their nutritional quality. 

The proposal was one of 80 measures contained in a parliamentary report on obesity, which was submitted to the government on Tuesday (September 30).

It recommended a rise in VAT from 5.5% to 19.6% for high fat, sugar and salt foods.

Speaking on French TV channel Canal +, Bachelot said: "It's an interesting approach but we are going through a difficult period economically and by taxing a certain number of products you would only end up taxing the less well off."

Commenting on the recommendation that fruit and vegetable VAT be reduced from 5.5% to 2.2%, she said: "It could be an idea but not one I'm considering at the moment."

Bachelot will present measures to tackle obesity in a government health bill to be debated in parliament before the end of the year.