Denmark enforces fat tax

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Denmark has enforced a ‘fat tax’ on foods such as butter and oil. The tax is introduced as a way to curb unhealthy eating habits. The country introduced the tax on October 1, 2011, of 16 kroner or AUD 3.00 per kilogram of saturated fat in a product.

Ole Linnet Juul, food director at Denmark’s Confederation of Industries, says the tax will increase the price of a burger by around $0.15 and raise the price of a small package of butter by around $0.40.

The tax was approved by large majority in a parliament in March as a move to help increase the average life expectancy of Danes.

Denmark, like some other European countries, already has higher fees on sugar, chocolates and soft drinks, but Linnet Juul says he believes that Denmark is the first country in the world to tax fatty foods.

The outgoing conservative Danish government planned the fat tax as part of a goal to increase the average life expectancy of Danes, currently below the OECD average at 79 years, by three years over the next 10 years.

“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, because “saturated fats can cause cardiovascular disease and cancer.”