Denmark imposes a "fat tax" October 24, 2011
Denmark imposes a "fat tax" October 24, 2011

Although a number of other European countries already have higher tax rates for soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco products, this is thought to be the world’s first tax on fat. It targets foods that contain saturated fat with a surcharge of approximately $2.90 to be added each 2.2 lbs of fat in a product.

The tax is aimed at reducing the consumption of foods that contain high levels of saturated fat, which has been known to increase the risk of heart disease. But because the tax applies equally to any food containing saturated fat, several groups in the food industry are not happy. Certain industries like the country’s dairy farmers say their products are now being placed in the same category as fast food.

Other groups feel the government may have taken this one step too far. There is a sense from some Danes that “big brother” should not be interfering or telling them how much fat they can consume.

The government claims that this tax will not only help to increase general public health but will also reduce public health care costs. Denmark’s statistics show that only about 10% of the population is obese, compared to approximately 33% in the U.S. One of the reasons for this low obesity rate is that Denmark introduced a number of policies and regulations in their food industry over the years to curb such things as the amount of trans fats and sugars allowed in foods.

Would this “Fat Tax” work in the U.S.? Seeing that we have yet to pass a tax on soda or other sugary drinks, I guess the simple answer is –not a chance.

Sources:
Time; Beating Butter: Denmark Imposes the World’s First Fat Tax
BBC; Denmark Introduces World’s First Food Fat Tax

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