A Fat Tax In Denmark – Should It Happen In The U.S.?
No, it’s not a tax on fat people, but on food containing saturated fats.
Beginning today, October 1, Denmark is imposing the world’s first “fat tax” in a drive to make its population slimmer and healthier.
Taxes On Butter, Chips, Hamburger Meat
Here’s how The Telegraph describes the tax:
Starting from this Saturday, Danes will pay an extra 30p on each pack of butter, 8p on a pack of crisps, and an extra 13p on a pound of mince, as a result of the tax. (That’s 46 cents, 13 cents, and 20 cents respectively.)
The tax is expected to raise about 2.2bn Danish Krone (£140m), and cut consumption of saturated fat by close to 10pc, and butter consumption by 15pc.
“It’s the first ever fat-tax,” said Mike Rayner, Director of Oxford University’s Health Promotion Research Group, who has long campaigned for taxes on unhealthy foods.
“It’s very interesting. We haven’t had any practical examples before. Now we will be able to see the effects for real.” The tax will be levied at 2.5 per Kg of saturated fat and will be levied at the point of sale from wholesalers to retailers.
What About Food Loaded With Sugar, Carbs, Salt?
But wait. I understand what they’re trying to do, and it’s not a bad idea, but hopefully the Danish government understands that saturated fats are not the only foods making people overweight and sick?
How about all the foods that are loaded with sugars and carbohydrates and salt? Alarmed by the popularity of these foods, Hungary at the beginning of September† imposed a tax on all packaged foods containing unhealthy levels of sugar, salt and carbohydrates, as well as products containing more than 20 milligrams of caffeine per 100 milliliters of the product.
Less Than 10 Percent Of Danes Are Obese – Compared To 34 Percent In The U.S.
Less than 10 percent of Danes are clinically obese, putting them slightly below the European average. In Britain, however, more than 20 percent of the population is obese. That’s the highest level of obesity in Europe, but in the United States a shocking 34 percent of the adult population suffers from obesity.
If this tax is successful in lowering the consumption of saturated fats in Denmark, maybe we should try it in the United States.
What do you think? Could a fat tax work in the United States?
Photo Credit: helselene