Current Magazine

Denmark Has Introduced a ‘fat Tax’, the UK Could Be Next to Tax Fatties

Posted on the 04 October 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

Denmark has introduced a ‘fat tax’, the UK could be next to tax fatties

So tasty, but so expensive. What's a fatty to do? Photo credit: L.Richarz

For Danish butter lovers life just got harder. For the first time, a “fat tax” has been introduced, adding a surcharge to foods such as butter, cheese, pizza and meat with more than 2.3% saturated fat, the BBC reported. This legislation has been brought in to reduce people’s intake of fatty foods, officials say, in an attempt to raise the health of the nation, increase the average life expectancy and reduce levels of obesity, currently at under 10 percent in Denmark (compared to 20 percent in the UK). The move has commenters split. Some experts say that saturated fats aren’t the biggest food evil we face, while others claim the tax will unfairly impact the poorer sections of the population.

Can this new sin tax have a tangible impact the health of Denmark, and do we need to start stocking up on our favourite fatty indulgences before the tax lands here?

Danish largely unfussed. While foreign commenters are in uproar, one way or the other, the Danes are apparently unfazed by the changes. The Copenhagen Post claimed the Danes were “taking it in their stride”, somewhat bemused by the international attention. Mathias Buch Jensen told the Guardian that locals were unlikely to respond dramatically to the changes: “we love fat.”

“Knowing the Danes, it could have the opposite effect. Like naughty children, when they are told not to do something, they do it even more,” Jensen added

Scientifically sound? Dr Ian Campbell said of the new tax: “it’s unfair, it’s unmanageable, and it won’t work.” In the Mirror he claims that while a fat tax may reap short term health benefits, there is “no proof that it will have any impact on obesity levels whatsoever.” Jennifer Huget questioned the scientific foundation of the move, and doubted “whether saturated fat is quite the dietary demon it’s believed to be … I’m not a fan of taking huge public policy steps without being sure of the supporting science”, she wrote at The Washington Post.

“Good job, Denmark.” Mike Rayner, Director of Oxford University’s Health Promotion Research Group, welcomed the news. “Now we will be able to see the effects for real,” he told the Telegraph, while Tam Fry felt that “obesity is such a huge issue that we must begin thinking the unthinkable.” Meanwhile, in the US, on the Stir, April Peveteaux applauded the tax: “good job, Denmark”.

Spreading. The new tax has brought widespread calls for similar moves across the globe. Hungary recently introduced a similar tax on foods with high fat, sugar and sat content, and the world is watching to see how this Denmark experiment will be. At the Conservative Conference, Prime Minister David Cameron conceded that “it is something we should look at.” Tam Fry told The Guardian that “it is not a question of whether we should follow the Danes’ lead – we have to.” Ross Clark of the Daily Mail enthusiastically calculated that by 2050 obesity may be costing the UK £50 billion annually, and claimed that a fat tax is “the best way to save the NHS billions”, and pointed to the revenue generation of alcohol and tobacco taxes. So far calls for such taxes in the UK have been resisted by Health Minister Andrew Lansley, but Rayner feels the time has come: “I think we’re going to have them in Britain whether Mr Lansley wants them or not, because the obesity crisis in the UK is such that we need to take more action.”

More on health

  • Raising the speed limit: is it safe?
  • Coffee protects against depression
  • Dark chocolate is good for you
  • Five ways we’re killing ourselves
  • First artificial heart
  • Eating disorders up

More health »

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Taming Shakespeare

    Taming Shakespeare

    It hardly seemed credible, from what I heard in high school, that anyone would read Shakespeare if it weren’t required. I’m not completely naive, but I do wonde... Read more

    The 20 May 2018 by   Steveawiggins
  • Three Against Two the Tambuka Way

    Western music is based on so-called duple rhythms, patterns of two or multiples of two. There are triple rhythms as well, the waltz for example, but they... Read more

    The 20 May 2018 by   Bbenzon
  • Downsides of Diet Culture

    Downsides Diet Culture

    Picture of a adorable pug named Biscuit walking toward the camera saying “If I want the Food Police I’ll call Pie-1-1”Today a new blog reader asked me “I’ve... Read more

    The 20 May 2018 by   Danceswithfat
  • Money, Museums and Men

    Money, Museums

    On the second day of our London jolly, we were planning to take in the view from the Shard, until we realised it was thirty quid a piece. Read more

    The 20 May 2018 by   Jackscott
  • Shopping in Sarojini Nagar? Here Are 15 Things You Must Know Before You Go.

    Shopping Sarojini Nagar? Here Things Must Know Before

    Planning to visit Sarojini Nagar and have some questions about it? Check out all 15 questions I have covered in here. 4 of them will help you by the best clothe... Read more

    The 20 May 2018 by   Shoppingaholic
  • A Ripple Conversation With Rob "Blasko" Nicholson

    Ripple Conversation With "Blasko" Nicholson

    Let's start with your name and what you do.Let's have it. - Blasko. I wear many hats, but most commonly I am the bass player for Ozzy Osbourne. Start at... Read more

    The 20 May 2018 by   Ripplemusic
  • #LondonWalks Walk Of The Week: The Rock'n'Roll Pub Tour With LIVE Music...

    #LondonWalks Walk Week: Rock'n'Roll Tour With LIVE Music #RollingStones Special!

    On Sundays we pluck just one walk from the vast London Walks repertoire and put it centre stage. You can check out the full schedule at Read more

    The 20 May 2018 by   Lwblog