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Denmark scraps fat tax

Denmark has repealed the world’s first fat tax, just over a year after it became law. The tax was charged on foods high in saturated fats and was heavily criticised for increasing prices for consumers and companies, and for putting Danish jobs at risk. Consumers were crossing the border to buy cheaper goods.

The government has also cancelled a similar levy on sugar content.

Farmers, retailers and shoppers reportedly whooped with joy when the tax was abolished.

There is debate about whether it has been scrapped for political reasons rather than lack of effectiveness.

US nutritionist Marion Nestle told New Scientist the real reason the Danish tax was dropped was to appease business interests:

One lesson learned was that small countries with cross-borders can’t raise prices unless their neighbours do too. “But the greater lesson is that any attempt to encourage people to eat less will encounter fierce food-industry opposition. Eating less is bad for business.”

Writing in The Conversation, Deakin University’s Dr Gary Sacks says the “fat tax” wasn’t evaluated for its effectiveness, and may have been scrapped for political reasons rather than lack of effectiveness.

Published on November 28, 2012 in Fat tax,International news