Fat Tax in Denmark — World’s First?

The world’s first tax on fat, saturated fat, has been implemented and in all places – Denmark. Despite all the media attention on the US and the UK having a problem with obesity issues, Denmark lead the way in passing this particular tax. They already have higher fees on sugar, chocolate, and soft drinks in place, so what is another tax?

In September of 2011, Hungary passed what is affectionately known as the “Hamburger Law.” Essentially, it placed higher taxes on pastries, salty snacks, food flavorings, and soft drinks.

In anticipation of the tax going into affect on October 1, 2011, many shelves in grocery stores were emptied as citizens hoarded certain products. Some of the products include: cheese, oils, processed food, butter, and milk. The formula is any food item that has more than 2.3 percent of saturated fat means that it is taxed.

The tax is for 16 kroner per kilogram, or approximately $3 per 2.2 pounds. That basically brings the prices of a hamburger up by $0.15 or raises the price of butter by $0.40.

The European Union (EU) is looking into this tax as the numbers crunching behind the figure is quite a bit awry. The Danish producers must pay the tax based on all of the saturated fat used in the product, including that which is used during the production process. The importer needs to only pay tax on the saturated fat in the finished product. In the end, this means that the imported product could end up being cheaper than the domestic product.

Which leads one to ask – won’t the Danes just cross the border to buy the products that are taxed too heavily? Perhaps they will. Or perhaps a black market of sorts will open, thus creating a whole new problem that the Danes need to deal with. One thing is for sure: it seems no matter what country we live in, governments are eager to tax, tax, tax.

“Denmark Introduces World’s First Fat Tax.” The Star Online. 3 Oct 2011. Web. 6 Oct 2011.

“Denmark Introduces World’s First Food Fat Tax.” BBC News Europe Online. 1 Oct 2011. Web. 6 Oct 2011.

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