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Denmark levies world's first fat tax
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Author:  Spender [ Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Denmark levies world's first fat tax

Thoughts? I am disturbed on one level that it is being branded as a "fat tax", as I have no fundamental issues with taxing higher rates on unhealthy foods, just as we tax alcohol and cigarettes. However, the branding of it as a "fat tax" creates the illusion that there are "bad" foods and that fat people eat them. It further marginalises overweight people, to no particular end.

In Canada, we pay tax on all foods served as individual portions; so for example, all restaurant meals but not most groceries, on individual chocolate bars, but not on a box of them, on a single can of pop but not a six pack of pop. I think it is a bit of a heavy handed way of approaching the issue, as I have had to pay the tax on fresh pineapple chunks once as the (750 ml!) container was considered to be a single serving.

I think similar risks arise with taxing all foods which contain saturated fat, as Denmark is proposing.

Taxation policy is incredibly complicated, and it is really difficult to come up with one firm standard on how to tax what would be considered junk food, without also sweeping up a huge number of other foods that are, in fact, healthy, or healthier.


Denmark levies world's first fat tax

Author:  delenda [ Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Denmark levies world's first fat tax

I think this is bizarre, and honestly, not very well thought-out.

Author:  kurayami [ Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Denmark levies world's first fat tax

This seems very poorly thought out. Levying a tax against foods with saturated fat is stupid, even healthy foods have saturated fats. I wonder how nuts and dairy will fare under this tax. It sounds like all it will do is make the cost of living even higher.

Author:  leftover [ Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Denmark levies world's first fat tax

^ agree.
I think its over-reaching for government to tax certain types of foods.

Author:  rosie [ Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Denmark levies world's first fat tax

I'm not sure what source you read this on, but when i saw it the other day it was accompanied by comments from a dietician who pointed out that heavily processed carbs (i.e. chips) that have little nutritional value, but provide a lot of energy would be a better target..

I think his suggestion is more appropriate if they feel the need to use a tax as a incentive not to eat certain foods in excess.

Oh! novel idea, how about they use any tax money to reduce the cost of fruit/vegetables. That might encourage more people to include them in their diets.

Author:  kurayami [ Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Denmark levies world's first fat tax

While I agree with you in principle, Rosie. It'd be good if junk food was the only thing being taxed, but it sounds from the tone of the linked article that nutritious staples like fresh meat, nuts and dairy might also be marked up. The idea of taxing saturated fat is good on paper, but the real life application is what concerns me. And of course, as is the case with alcohol and tobacco, it doesn't matter how expensive so called vices become, people will still find the money. My concern with this type of tax is that this increase in the cost of junk foods mean that people will still buy all of their usual crap food, but because it costs more, they'll prioritise the junk food over fresh fruit and vegetables.

Author:  Spender [ Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Denmark levies world's first fat tax

I have worked on policy and legislation in every area of government, and I have to say, taxation policy is the most fascinating policy I have worked on (and I come from a social policy background). Because it is administrative law, it has to be absolutely clear about what and who is being taxed, or it will be overturned as being vague or unfair. Taxation is also one of the most effective tools for influencing social behaviours - much of the decrease in smoking rates in Canada is attributed to the excessive taxation of cigarettes, more so than education and no smoking laws. I have always thought that the best way of dealing with proana sites is to tax the hell out of them.

So, you can see why governments would look to taxation as a tool in the fight against the so called "obesity epidemic". But to do so, they end up having to just draw a simplistic line in the sand. In Denmark, it is saturated fats, and I agree that that is a ridiculous line that may well also have serious trade implications. In Canada, we differentiate on whether something is sold as a single serving or in bulk. So here, a nutritious whole wheat bun is taxed, while half a dozen are not. So I guess my questions are: first, do you see taxation as a way of both dissuading people from buying large amounts of less healthy foods as well as generating revenues which could be used for treatment (subsidies to food production being largely prohibited through trade agreements), and secondly, if so, how would you define it?

Author:  Clara [ Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Denmark levies world's first fat tax

there are more important issues to cater to in the world of politics .... sigh

Author:  catherinegreen [ Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Denmark levies world's first fat tax

Basically, saturated fats are found in animal products and processed foods, such as meats, dairy products, chips, and pastries. They are not heart healthy since they are most known for raising LDL cholesterol or simply the "bad cholesterol". That is the reason why Denmark levies first-ever saturated fat tax. All fats in food in Denmark will be taxed in an effort to lower consumption. The Danish tax system will be the first real-world test of taxing a particular food element as a way to reduce or change consumption toward “healthier” options. This is an intervention to promote health, maintain wellness and shun ailments related to fat intake, hence preventing money or even payday loans to be expended due to expensive therapy. On the contrary, some call this an ineffective effort, but only time can tell.

Indeed, the fat tax is certainly a creative tax. While it has definite advantages for both state governments and individual people's health, there are also some discriminatory issues as well as more damage to people's wallets. Well, let's see if this will work.

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