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 141.

    "The problem is that eating healthily costs a LOT more"

    Since when? It may cost a bit more of your time but it's a lot cheaper to buy fresh meat/veg and prepare the meals yourself. I think you have demonstrated the real issue here that people just don't know how to cook any more and have lost touch with what real food is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    About time they picked on someone other than smokers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    No different from taxing smokers really. Which seems fairly popular with most of the UK population. Personally I have always thought using taxation to change behaviors is like using your police force to get people to exercise more. You could do it but it would be using the wrong tool to do the job. And you wouldn't get re-elected. Too much stick, not enough carrot, if you'll excuse the pun.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    All vegetarians will be depressed as their food becomes way more expensive to make their food even palatable...

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    119.robkimberley - " It's not what you eat, but how much!"

    Not necessarily

    1lb in wieght of Salad sounds a lot but doesn't contain many Calories and is not fattening

    Whereas 8oz of Cheese, Cream or Sugar ie half the weight, would contain many Calories and be fattening

    It is what you eat, not how much

    A bag of Crisps or a weight-equivalent Apple?

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    I think it's just a stealth tax...I hope David Cameron doesn't find out about it....

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    Surely this is a question for the Danes and as such has nothing to do with us.So if they want a "fat"tax,that's their business.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    It's wise to understand that this is a Danish decision, not European. Income tax in Denmark varies between 42.9% and 63%; VAT is 25%. They have much one of the lowest levels of poverty in Europe and a much higher levels of social welfare.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    -I'm on the Atkins diet-
    The Atkins diet works by making you eat food that makes you feel full so you eat less BUT its not a healthy diet that you could live on for ever, eventually u have to come off & eat a (hopefully smaller) balanced diet or die

    -It would be better to tax products containing refined sugar and flour.-

    They already taxed sugar + some other foods

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    Doing this via taxation is perfectly reasonable since it has been shown as a very effective way of modifying behaviour. It doesn't deny anyone their fat-fix if they so desire. However I agree that fat is actually the wrong target. Sugar, in particular fructose, is the real villain here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Pitiful nannying state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    Considering healthy food is much more expensive, it literally raises the minimum price of food so those who might choose the cheaper food due to being a bit less better off are now paying more. Robbing the poor as usual! Just remember, when you put something tasty in your mouth, the enjoyment is very short, but the damage is long term. You are eating yourselves to death with that junk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    Yet more proof that EU and government concern for our health and well being is nothing more than a way of raising more money via taxation. Get ready for this in Britain and all over Europe, eventually. Just another way for the elite of society, the freemasons, the David Camerons, to make sure the poor pay more and more for their survival, to make sure the poor stay poor and never get a break.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    I'm on the Atkins diet which is high fat, high protien, low carbohydrates and I'm losing weight. Taxing foods based on fat content makes no sense. It won't have any effect on people gaining or losing weight, it won't result in improving their health.. It is based on junk science and bad economics. It would be better to tax products containing refined sugar and flour.

  • 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 126.

    A fat tax is the wrong approach. Some of my favourite foods are high in fat, something that makes them delicious. For instance a well-matured Camembert is, for me, an absolute delight. The fat levels would make a Big Mac look healthy. Being a grown up, I have the sense to eat it rarely. To tax such well crafted delicacies would be damaging to traditional industries, and take away my choices.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    anyone interested in UK Obesity should look at this article on the stats behind the headlines

    The Danes dont have a big obesity problem, part of their argument is they dont want to end up like the British

    For those who keep saying they should tax sugar etc, they did that ages ago

    And it was the Danish equivalent of the Tories who introduced this law

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    'Some scientists think saturated fat may be the wrong target'. Since when have the scientific community ever agreed on anything?

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    The Nanny state strikes again. Apparently the Danish government believes that its people are not intelligent enough to eat properly.

    If their waistlines are anything like ours then they have strong evidence to back that contention up!!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    This is a bit like the EU finance transaction tax. Unless all countries around the world introduce it, it will only become a means for people to get round the paying for it by looking outside their own borders. Agree with it in principle but to unilaterally bring it in is likely to have dire consequences for the countries who will have it.


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