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Denmark institutes fat tax

October 1, 2011
Denmark is to introduce one of the world’s first-ever “fat taxes,” in a pioneering move to slim the country’s waistlines and combat heart disease.

From this Saturday, the price of a pack of butter will soar by 50 cents, a bag of potato chips by 12 cents, and a pound of ground beef by 20 cents, as the government levies the new tax of 2.50 euros per kilogram ($1.60 per pound) of saturated fat.

“There’s never been a tax on fats like this,” said Dr. Jorgen Dejgard Jensen at Copenhagen University, whose institute proposed the tax. “We will gain some very useful insights during the next year or two about whether it is changing consumption patterns, and also regarding the feasibility of implementing such a tax.”

Denmark already taxes at 66 cents per kilogram the sugar that goes into its famed cinnamon pastries. It even has a tax on ice cream at 15 cents a liter.