Denmark is to introduce a tax on saturated fat in a bid to encourage its population to make healthier food choices.
Starting from 1 October, 2011, Danes who like to eat fatty foods will see their food bills rising.
The ‘fat tax’ will be levied at 16 Danish Kroner per kilo of saturated fat, and will apply to meat – including chicken and pork – cheese, butter, edible oils, margarine and other spreads, and processed foods.
The Danish government hopes the new tax will reduce the consumption of saturated fat by up to 10 per cent, and cut healthcare costs.
As well as improving public health, the fat tax is expected to raise £2.2bn Danish Kroner, or about £140 million.
Health experts will be watching carefully to see what effect the fat tax will have on obesity rates and related health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
In the Telegraph newspaper, Dr Mike Rayner, Director of Oxford University’s Health Promotion Research Group, said: “It’s very interesting. We haven’t had any practical examples before. Now we will be able to see the effects for real.”
Around 10 per cent of Danes are classified as obese, with a body mass index of 30 or more. This is less than the EU average rate, now running at around 15 per cent.
The UK now has the highest obesity rates in Europe, with nearly 25 per cent of the adult population obese, according to EU figures. If obesity rates continue to rise unchecked, government figures have predicted that up to 60 per cent of adults and 25 per cent of children will be obese by 2050.