Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The year just passed by had seen many governments grappling with the over weight and obesity epidemics visiting their citizens and how best to dissuade the consumers from gorging on high energy, high fat, high sugar foods. By now it is universally recognized that there is an established connection between unbalance foods and bad health conditions and unless more discipline is exercised regarding eating, more and more resources, personal as well national, will have to be deployed to fight the impact of bad eating. Of course there are many reasons as to why people binge on foods but the fact remains that like an addiction the habit of consumption of harmful foods refuses to go away creating more moribund people requiring medical attention and treatment. One of the suggestions which is being considered by many countries involves imposing extra taxes on processed foods containing high fat, high sugar, high saturated fat and high salt content. Probably Denmark gets the credit being the first country to impose such taxes on foods not considered healthy. While government coffers will be augmented by these taxes, the consumer can be expected to patronize such foods less frequently. A win-win situation? Wait and see!

"Fatty foods and candy could soon be swelling the coffers of the Danish state by up to DKK 1.5 billion per year with the introduction of an 'unhealthy food tax' at the beginning of 2010. A new study by the Confederation of Danish Industry's Food Branch (DI) reveals that a range of taxes on chocolate, sodas, sweets and ice cream would generate well over 1 billion kroner, making Danish indulgence the costliest in the entire EU. There are also suggestions to impose a saturated fat tax on butter, margarine, vegetable oil and cheese of DKK 25 per kg, in line for introduction in mid 2010. This will represent an overall increase of 27 percent in food charges says the report in the Copenhagen Post".

Whether Denmark, part of the large European Union, is suitable for experimenting with the new approach, may be debatable because those bent on eating calorie-rich foods can alway cross the borders to lay their hands on such foods at much lower cost, defeating the very purpose of the legislation. One is reminded of earlier cases of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes which are heavily taxed to discourage consumption due to their adverse influence on human health but these products continue to be marketed even to day in almost all parts of the world. Whether same thing can happen to calorie rich foods also remains to be seen!


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