"Fat Tax" Introduced in Denmark

Posted on by Paula Gallagher

Denmark has introduced a “fat tax” on certain foods, including butter, oil and burgers. The goal is to increase the health and lifespan of Danes.

Increased taxes on cigarettes has led to more awareness of the hazards of smoking, and even decreases in certain cancers. So, will imposing a tax on foods that can lead to cardiovascular disease if consumed in excess, cause people to eat less of those foods and increase longevity? That’s the idea. “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.”

What do you think? Do you think the United States should start imposing such a tax? Perhaps taxing processed foods (basically anything in the middle of the grocery store) and decreasing the price of fruits and vegetables, dairy and whole grains (anything on the perimeter of the grocery store) is an option. Personally, I would be all for it if the taxed amount would somehow subsidize the prices of more whole foods.