In case you missed it this week: Just about a year after Denmark passed a so-called “fat tax,” the country’s leaders repealed it. This week top officials in the Danish government explained why they are repealing the tax and abandoning plans for a similar tax on sugar, saying that the tax wasn’t improving public health but rather it was hurting businesses, chasing away jobs and encouraging residents in border cities and towns to travel to other countries to do their grocery shopping.
We read this quote in one of the articles on the subject:
“The fat tax is one of the most maligned we had in a long time. Now we have to try improving the public health by other means,” said minister for food Mette Gjerskov (quoted in the Wall Street Journal).
And with two California cities overwhelmingly rejecting soda taxes earlier this month, the headline of this Forbes.com column rings truer now than ever: “From Denmark to California, Diet Engineering by Sin Tax Fails.”
This is more real world evidence to support the fact that we can’t tax our way to better health. We need real action and a collaborative, comprehensive approach to addressing obesity and other serious health issues. Singling out one ingredient, food or beverage won’t do anything to teach consumers about moderation and the importance of balancing the calories we consume with those we expend through physical activity and exercise.