Fat tax supporters try to rewrite failed Danish fat tax history

In this article, from the health section of the Spectator magazine website, the author explains how, one and a half year after its abolishment, pro fat tax voices are trying to rewrite history, claiming the Danish tax was more effective than previously thought.

In articles that appeared in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the British Medical Journal, the authors provide numbers proving that sales of fatty products fell by 10 to 15 per cent figure as a result of the tax.

This figure comes from a study that looked at sales of butter, margarine and cooking oils in the first three months of the tax’s existence. The study did indeed show a fall of 10 to 15 per cent in those early days but there is a simple explanation for this. Knowing that the tax was to be introduced on 1 October 2011, thrifty Danes stockpiled fatty products in advance”.

On long term dietary changes, the author points out that “the reality is the tax had little or no effect on dietary habits, obesity and health. It failed to do what it was supposed to do and so the Danes sensibly got rid of it”. On the contrary, its negative effects on the economy were real: looking back, “the tax on saturated fat led to inflation, cross-border shopping, job losses and huge administrative costs”, he adds.

The Spectator article refutes more pro tax claims about the Danish fat tax and can be read in full here.

Ineffective consumer behaviour, Ineffective on obesity, Denmark, Europe