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Denmark Introduces ‘Fat Tax’ on Foods High in Saturated Fat

Olivia Katrandjian ABC News 10/03/2011 18:03
Denmark Introduces ‘Fat Tax’ on Foods High in Saturated Fat - Denmark - Europe - tax - lifestyle

Denmark has introduced what’s believed to be the world’s first fat food tax, applying a surcharge to foods with more than 2.3 percent saturated fats, in an effort to combat obesity and heart disease.

Danes hoarded food before the tax went into effect Saturday, emptying grocery store shelves. Some butter lovers may even resort to stocking up during trips abroad.

The new tax of 16 kroner ($2.90) per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of saturated fat in a product will be levied on foods like butter, milk, cheese, pizza, oils and meat.

“Higher fees on sugar, fat and tobacco is an important step on the way toward a higher average life expectancy in Denmark,” health minister Jakob Axel Nielsen said when he introduced the idea in 2009, according to The Associated Press, because “saturated fats can cause cardiovascular disease and cancer.”

But some Danes are not happy about the ‘big brother’ feeling that comes with the tax.