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Hungary Introduces National Tax On Fatty Foods

Hungary Introduces National Tax On Fatty Foods


Beginning September 1, 2011, Hungarians will be required to pay an additional 10 forint (approx. $.05 US) tax on food items that contain high levels of salt, sugar or fat. Additionally, taxes on liquor and soft drinks will increase by 10 percent.

The first of its kind in the world, the new “fat tax” officially passed on July 12 after its authors agreed to exempt fast food companies. The measure is expected to raise $100 million a year to help offset state-covered health care debt, which sits at about $534 million. About 20 percent of Hungarians are obese, compared to 30 percent in the United States.

Not surprisingly, the bill faced stiff opposition from food manufactures and some restaurants who say that salty, sugary and fatty foods aren’t unhealthy. The Global Post reports:

The CIAA, a European food and drink lobby group, says [fat taxes are] “discriminatory” because they target specific types of food and tend to hit low-income groups hardest. At the same time it says such taxes are cumbersome to collect, economically damaging and have no proven potential to improve eating habits. Danish obesity rates, it says, have risen despite having a tax on candy since 1922.

According to national officials, Hungarians spend about 17 percent of their household income on food, which is more than double the average for American families and pay a sales tax among the highest in the EU. Consumers in Hungary already pay an extra 25 percent on most types of food and drink, except dairy and bakery products, which are taxed at 12 percent (Euractiv).

In 2008, Alabama became the first U.S. state to levy a fat tax, charging state employees that are obese or have high blood pressure, cholesterol or glucose $25 a month more in health insurance. In early 2011, Mexico’s ban on junk food in schools went into effect, making it illegal for the country’s 220,000 public and private elementary and middle schools to eat from the vending machine. And last year the Mayor of San Francisco banned vending machines on city property from dispensing Coke, Pepsi and other calorically sweetened beverages as part of the Soda Free Summer initiative.

Related Reading:

Hungarian Government Destroys GMO Corn Crops

NYC Mayor Wants To Ban Sugary Drinks For Food Stamp Users

California Lawmaker Wants Statewide Tax On Sugary Beverages

Is Severe Obesity In Kids A Sign Of Child Abuse?


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Image Credit: Flickr - globalx

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10:06AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Brava Ungheria. Vediamo come va a finire.

3:17PM PDT on May 20, 2012

Brilliant societal food experiment by a country that's Hung(a)ry.

12:49PM PST on Dec 31, 2011

Interesting concept, hope it works.

5:50PM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

Hahahaha... they're right!

4:30PM PDT on Aug 8, 2011


9:11PM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule."

"When a new source of taxation is found it never means, in practice, that the old source is abandoned. It merely means that the politicians have two ways of milking the taxpayer where they had one before."

- HL Mencken

Ridiculous! Just more money for a greedy gov't that will hurt poorer people even more, in the long run. They are already severely overtaxed on food! "Hungarians spend about 17 percent of their household income on food, which is more than double the average for American families and pay a sales tax among the highest in the EU. Consumers in Hungary already pay an extra 25 percent..."

This is not about protecting children or anyone else. They're exempting fast food restaurants, so it's obviously just another way to take money. "Danish obesity rates, it says, have risen despite having a tax on candy since 1922."

Where did all the adults go in this world? Our current generations must be made up of under-educated children. Always trying to hold someone else responsible for their own actions, until the gov't steps in to control them. And they actually LIKE it!

2:09AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

At first sight, this looks good. If it is not effective, perhaps they should regulate maximum fat, sugar and salt content.

8:59PM PDT on Aug 3, 2011

Seems like a good way to healthier choices. Let's see if it works

11:35PM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

Go healthy food Go!

12:14AM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

I think what would help even MORE, in Hungary, that is, stop taxing groceries. Here in the USA there is no tax on regular food, but there is on stuff like soft drinks. That would be better, because now the healthy foods are much more affordable on top of being less expensive than fast food anyway.

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