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 101.

    Everyone is assuming the aim of this tax is to tackle obesity (the article doesnt say), The expected primary medical effect of reducing saturated fat would actually be to reduce cardiovascular disease. Denmark already has relatively a low obesity rate (1 in 10).
    This is a very poor article that is factually incorrect by ommission, for a start Denmark already taxes sugar & ice cream & Trans fats

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Prohibition by taxes! Babies and growing children need dairy products to promote healthy bones. During and after the war the British Government had a free school milk programme. Cases of Rickets in western countries is just about nil. but back in Edwardian times the poor children were affected by it and my mother was one of them. I think the Danes are wrong doing this

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    The Nanny state strikes again. Apparently the Danish government believes that its people are not intelligent enough to eat properly. Now that they are taxing what goes in, let's hope they don't tax what goes out.

  • 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 97.

    The (simplistic) answer is "eat less, exercise more"

    Whats so hard about that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Sounds like a coup for Danish sugar growers. The excess calories that result in obesity don't only come from fats and as others have pointed out some of the foods now taxed might be considered as being nutritionally advantageous. This can never be said of sugary drinks and confectionary which are effectively wasted calories. This seems ill thought out = so will probably appeal to our 'leaders'

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    It is my understanding that the developing brain of childeren requires a 40% fat diet. If true, I wonder if this tax has the potential to lower the collective IQ of the fruture generations of Danes. Is this yet another unintended negative consequence of governmental engineering of society?

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    The Danish government is maybe entitled to do this after having created
    a fair and just society where people are highly taxed but do not then get ripped off
    and forced to 'double pay' for education, health, housing, nursing care, decent pension etc The Uk government is nowhere near thinking it can do things like this eg limiting alcohol purchasing or bannig cigarette machines....but it does...

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    The Tax will unfair to thin peoples.
    How about add fat tax on when fat guy is buying saturated fat products?
    Some Governments are going too far on peoples live and telling them how you can eat and how you can't sleep.

  • 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 90.

    @12 - Bauer
    eating healthily doesn't cost any more than eating junk. I feed a family of 3 adults for less than £40 a week, including packed lunches, breakfast and and least one hot meal a day. The only processed foods I buy are cheese, tinned tomatoes and baked beans. We eat meat about twice a week and fish at least once. It doesn't even take me any more effort than eating junk!

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    Well done Denmark! Maybe a VAT cut on healthy foods, and a corporation tax on packaging?

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    When last in Denmark I was shown by a restaurant owner that I paid a 25% tax on my lunch! These sort of taxes impact the poor in a disproportionate way as most will, in spite of the extra tax continue to eat as they always have. I holiday in Denmark and the Czech Republic as my ancestry is evenly split. Costs, by far, favor the CR and my time/money will be spent there in the future.

  • 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.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    More taxation, it is enough to drive you to drink.
    Oh dear, you mean the thought of cutting down on butter, milk, cheese, pizza, meat, oil and processed food is driving you to drink.
    Well now, that is a problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    I'm all for another tax on stupidity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    Something our British politicians have overlooked. Expect a fat tax too at our next budget on us already cash strapped workers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    The assumption that "fatty" foods are a problem seems to be losing support in the scientific community. My personal experience is that carbohydrates are the problem. Look around the supermarket. Rows and rows of carbohydrate laden food and that is what we are eating in abundance. In my opinion, taxing fatty foods is taxing a nutritional myth! Eat the cheeseburger but scrap the bun.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    Good start to an excellent idea.
    A reduction to saturated fat just might keep the arteries unclogged, the heart healthier, the weight down, & thereby reduce medical costs in the long run. But the cost of food is high; eating healthier is more expensive. Also the advertising industry should be taxed for advertising foods that are saturated, especially advertising aimed at children.


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