19 Oct 11 This obsession with fat is really taxing
Rob Lyons of of www.spikedonline.com writes:
“‘A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of health authoritarianism.’ With apologies for misquoting those dead, hairy Germans, Karl and Frederick, the creeping terror these days is not the possibility of the workers of the world uniting (if only). Instead it is governments’ decision to fill in the blank where their sense of purpose used to be with increasing intervention into every once-private detail of our lives. It’s no longer ‘you are what you eat’, but ‘you’ll be what we tell you to eat, or else’.
The latest episode in the war on our waistlines is the introduction of a ‘fat tax’ in Denmark. From 1 October, Danes are being charged for the amount of saturated fat in the food they eat. Any food that contains more than 2.3 per cent saturated fat – like meats, cheeses, butter, crisps and some fast foods – will be taxed with 16 Kroner (about £1.84) for each kilogram of saturated fat. For example, a packet of butter will now cost about 25 pence more than before.
Denmark is not the first country to impose this kind of tax. In January, Hungary introduced a tax on any ‘unhealthy’ foods that have more than the approved amount of fat, salt and sugar. The Hungarian policy looks like a blatant tax-grab justified on the basis that people who eat the wrong foods should pay more. Other countries that have introduced, or are considering introducing, similar taxes include Romania and Finland, while taxes on fizzy, sugary drinks have been in place for some time in five EU countries, including Denmark.
The question is, why the hell should a government decide – or heavily influence – our choice of food? Surely we should be the judge of what we eat. Why should we be taxed just for enjoying food?…..”