Denmark introduces world's first food fat tax

butter Some scientists think saturated fat may be the wrong target

Denmark has introduced what is believed to be the world's first fat tax - a surcharge on foods that are high in saturated fat.

Butter, milk, cheese, pizza, meat, oil and processed food are now subject to the tax if they contain more than 2.3% saturated fat.

Some consumers began hoarding to beat the price rise, while some producers call the tax a bureaucratic nightmare.

Others suggest that many Danes will simply start shopping abroad.

Danish officials say they hope the new tax will help limit the population's intake of fatty foods.

However, some scientists think saturated fat may be the wrong target.

They say salt, sugar and refined carbohydrates are more detrimental to health and should be tackled instead.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    The problem with blanket taxes like this is that you affect the poor much more than you do the better off. Furthermore where do you stop? Salt next? You will end up taxing everything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    We're talking about Denmark here, a country that has just voted for increases in taxes. There's a huge cultural difference - people in the UK don't seem to understand the benefits of paying tax. Properly targeted (and spent) they work well, which is something the Danes understand. Aimed at changing behaviour, as these are, this can only be to their benefit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    They have completely missed the point. The enemy here is SUGAR, not fat. Your body converts waste energy via sugar into fat way way before it can process saturated fat into body fat. Have a look at the % of sugar in most things you eat: low in fat high in sugar!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    Doing this via taxation seems a huge and strange impingement on choice and freedom. Better food licensing or better labeling with "bad" foods being allowed only if carrying a prominent "this food could damage your health" warning seems a better way to go. Virtually everything is bad for you if consumed to excess, so its unfair to target just certain foods or food groups.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    The tax would be a great idea, IF they used the income generated to subsidize the healthy alternatives and help towards the funding of the health services and dietary awareness classes in schools. It would also be good if they could use some of the income generated to help those larger people who want to change. I fear however it will be lost in government and tied up in red tape.


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