Denmark's Fat Tax
Denmark has introduced a fat-tax in order to fight obesity and to combat heart disease and diabetes. The government also wants to improve life expectancy and the health of the Danish people. Butter, potato chips, ground beef and pork are among the products that are to be taxed.
After one or two years the government plans to see how the tax worked and if it has any effect on people’s eating habits. Denmark already has tax on sugar and ice cream.
Although only 10% of the Danish population is overweight, the country’s food experts think that saturated fat may be responsible for higher death rates. They also argue that the tax should not be limited to fats alone, because people might switch to other unhealthy foods with sugar and salt in them.
Even if Denmark cuts the amount of saturated fats that people consume only by a small fraction, it will be a signal to other countries that are watching closely, especially the United States where almost a third of the population is considered to be obese.
Other European countries are planning similar measures. Finland is working on a fat tax, based on the Danish model. Hungary has recently started to tax food that has a high share of salt, sugar and caffeine.
Denmark’s fat tax is being opposed by the country’s food industry, especially the meat producers. If people do cut more meat out of their diet it may mean that farmers’ earnings will go down. Denmark is one of the world’s largest bacon and pork producers. On the other side the new measure is expected to bring the government about $400 million additional tax dollars a year.
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- additional = extra, added
- although = while
- amount = quantity; how much of something
- bacon = salted or smoked meat from the back side of a pig; usually cut in very thin pieces
- based on = here: to do something like Denmark has done
- caffeine = something in tea, coffee that make you feel more active
- combat = fight
- considered = thought
- consume = here: eat
- cut = go down, become less
- diabetes = a serious disease in which there is too much sugar in your blood
- diet = what people usually eat
- disease = illness
- earnings = the money you make from the work you do
- effect = influence, impact, result
- especially = above all
- expect = think
- fraction = part
- government = the people who rule a country
- ground beef = meat from cows that is cut up into very small pieces and used for hamburgers
- introduce = start, begin
- life expectancy = the number of years you are expected to live
- limited = here: only
- measure = action
- obesity = if someone is very fat in a way that is unhealthy
- oppose = to be against
- overweight = too fat
- pork = meat from a pig
- recently = in the last few weeks or months
- responsible = the reason for
- saturated fat = type of fat in milk products and meat that is not healthy
- share = part
- switch = change to