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Denmark introduces world's first 'fat tax' on unhealthy foods

Chips, pizza, butter, meat and milk will all increase in price – but shoppers have been stocking up to beat the new levy.
Oct 2nd 2011, 12:05 PM 1,028 17

THE DANISH GOVERNMENT has introduced the world’s first ‘fat tax’ – charging consumers extra for foods high in unhealthy saturated fats.

The new law will see butter, meat and milk go up in price as a levy is imposed of €2.15 per kilo of saturated fats in a product. A 250g pack of butter will go up by around 29c, or 2.20 Danish krone, to an average price of around €2.41, AFP reports.

Junk foods such as chips and pizza will also be hit by the new levy.

The move has seen shoppers stock up on fatty foods in advance of the tax’s introduction yesterday. “We have had to stock up with tonnes of butter and margarine in order to be able to supply outlets,” one distributor told AFP.

According to recent figures, just over ten per cent of adults in Denmark are considered clinically obese – considerably lower than the rate in Ireland, where it is close to 20 per cent.

The BBC reports that some experts have criticised the new tax, suggesting that salt, sugar and other refined carbohydrates have a worse effect on health than saturated fats.

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Michael Freeman


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