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Denmark Repeals ‘Fat Tax’ 1 Year After Implementation

COPENHAGEN—Just a little more than one year after it was enacted, Danish lawmakers have repealed a fat tax on foods containing more than 2.3% saturated fat, such as butter, milk, cheese, pizza, oils and meats. The legislation was enacted on Oct. 1, 2011,  by the Danish parliament as a way to combat the escalating rates of obesity and heart disease in the country.

The Danish Ministry of Taxation said the country’s tax on unhealthy, high-fat products had driven up prices and put jobs at risk. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Mette Gjerskov, the minister for food, agriculture and fisheries, said: “The fat tax is one of the most maligned we [have] had in a long time. Now we have to try improving the public health by other means."

This not the first time Denmark has taxed foods in an effort to increase overall health and average life expectancy of its citizens. In 2004, Denmark made it illegal for any food to have more than 2% trans fats; in July 2010, it  increased taxes on ice cream, chocolate and candy by 25%. Taxes also have been raised on soft drinks, tobacco and alcohol products beyond the minimum levels established by the European Union.

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