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  1. #1
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    Denmark introduces fat tax

    I thought this might have been discussed here as a thread, but I am surprised it hasn't.

    The outgoing government in Denmark has introduced a fat tax of $4 a kilo (IIRC) for content in all foods sold. It applies to everything, apparently, including staples such as ordinary (non-processed plastic) cheese.

    The food industry has said the tax will be an administrative nightmare.

    I thought it might be worth discussing on several levels.

    1. Is this the nanny state gone mad again? I know that many people advocate regulation on what is contained in food, but I am a firm believer in that people should educate themselves and make valued judgments on what they purchase and eat, and that this has become a case of over-regulation.

    2. Is fat really the major culprit? In terms of cholesteral, maybe, but my personal experience is that carbohydrates can be a significant villain, too. Maybe people are just thinking fat = fat and therefore, taxing fat to reduce its consumption is going to make people thinner by itself.

    3. Is fat not the thing that really gives some foods its taste? It seems to me that the fat-reduced products, such as the cheddar cheese we buy, just doesn't have the same satisfying taste as the "real" stuff. And to overcome this lack of taste in fat-reduced products, there is an overload of salts and other added chemicals to create an artificial taste.

    4. Isn't the commercial reality that "healthy" food on the menus of fast-food companies just doesn't cut it with sales? I know McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and so on have added "healthy" choices to their menus, but the consumer just doesn't want them despite quite heavy promotion here a while back.

    5. How would you llike to be a business owner calculating the fat content in a food selection? "The base food isn't taxed coz it's healthy; but you want mayo? Oh that another 50 cents plus 4 cents tax. Oh, you want the light version, that's 50 cents plus 2 cents tax".

    What do you think?
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  2. #2
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    I think they are probably aiming at the wrong target, and that sugar is a bigger issue. I'm in favour of Governments taking a harder line in regulating the processed food industry, but taxing fat is insufficiently discriminate and seems unlikely to work.

    We should do something about the food producers, though. A few years ago I knew an eminent public health professor in the UK who was a member of a committee advising Ministers on food industry regulation, they advised issuing guidelines that would reduce the amount of salt in various foods. That advice was rejected after lobbying from the meat industry. Bacon was 15% salt, by weight. Salt is cheaper than pork. Reducing the salt content would have meant the customer got more meat per pound of product, and either the price would have risen or the profits would have fallen. And we couldn't have that, could we?
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Oh god... they're taxing actual fat content????? That's insane and doesn't even remotely address the problem. Fools...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rona's Avatar
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    taxing is based on SSCg3d scores.

    http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pd...rientmodel.pdf

    http://jech.bmj.com/content/61/8/689.abstract

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0712144621.htm

    The idea has been around since 2007 so it's not new. It adds about 1.50 dollars to each shopping trip according to one guy's calculations.. which doesn't seem enough penalty to keep people from buying crap food. If someone wants to buy some cheetos, they're gonna buy them regardless of the 5 cent tax on them.

    What it does do though is boost tax income during a time of austerity measures in Europe. To me it's not a bad thing since we already pay 17% VAT tax.. what's another few pennies? I really wont notice.
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  5. #5
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    On Rowan's #4: I think McDonalds etc. have dug themselves a hole, at least around here. They're routinely seen as the junk food alternative, so nobody goes there to get decent, healthy food. Even if and when healthy options would be available. It doesn't much matter if you can choose a side salad instead of fries if people go there to fix a hangover with salt, fat and sugar.

    BTW, we eat quite a bit of rye bread. After introducing rye as an option to some of their burgers here, McD tried to copyright the general term "rye burger" (in Finnish though)... that didn't fly too well. Many other chains had served their burgers with rye bread, and for longer than McD.
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  6. #6
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    My opinion: I would rather that they support the farmers to produce a different variety of produce. Also to put stricter regs on processed food. ust my opinion.

  7. #7
    Bulky Bullet Sayre Kulp's Avatar
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    Whatever happened to personal responsibility?
    "Obstacles don't like me very much. I make them look bad."

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    I thought this might have been discussed here as a thread, but I am surprised it hasn't.

    The outgoing government in Denmark has introduced a fat tax of $4 a kilo (IIRC) for content in all foods sold. It applies to everything, apparently, including staples such as ordinary (non-processed plastic) cheese.

    The food industry has said the tax will be an administrative nightmare.

    I thought it might be worth discussing on several levels.

    1. Is this the nanny state gone mad again? I know that many people advocate regulation on what is contained in food, but I am a firm believer in that people should educate themselves and make valued judgments on what they purchase and eat, and that this has become a case of over-regulation.
    Denmark has quite a different attitude on "nanny state" than we do on this side of the pond. They realize that they are part of a community, and as a community need to either fix a problem, or finance it in some way. "Shared sacrifice" is an integral concept to Denmark. So is "strict regulation", hence why you're not able to buy much of anything after 6PM.

    They do not live in a libertarian dream-land, like we do here in the US.

    5. How would you llike to be a business owner calculating the fat content in a food selection? "The base food isn't taxed coz it's healthy; but you want mayo? Oh that another 50 cents plus 4 cents tax. Oh, you want the light version, that's 50 cents plus 2 cents tax".
    They already have to calculate nutritional content of food, so it's very easy to add a tax rule to it. I do a lot of tax processing work on the software side, and this would be trivial to implement.

    In your example, the mayo would be taxed at time of purchase, so the cost would be figured in at that time, not at the point at which the restaurant serves it to the client.

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    The problem I see on a "fat tax of $4 a kilo" or on Sugar is that food mfg already shift content. Hence zero fat or sugar foods. This kind of tax will only encourage companies to put more chemicals and less food into their products. Making them "food like."

  10. #10
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sayre Kulp View Post
    Whatever happened to personal responsibility?
    We tried that, and we had an obesity epidemic.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    We tried that, and we had an obesity epidemic.
    Sad as it sounds there is a darwinian answer to that. The last thing we need is another invitation for the government to intrude in our lives to protect us from ourselves.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    Sad as it sounds there is a darwinian answer to that.
    Really, this isn't true.

    The life of a modern, typical human (fat, skinny, smart, dull, handsome or homely) goes pretty much like this: get born, get raised, go to school, fall in love, have some kids, raise them, get old, die. Having and raising kids isn't something that's only for skinny people, so there's no selective pressure not to be obese, and as a result Darwin has nothing to say about it. Natural selection shapes things when the "unfit" die childless, and sexual selection shapes things when the fair sex won't mate with "unfit" members of the species. By and large, these things aren't happening. ( And, honestly, it's better that they aren't, because we really don't want such draconian solutions. )
    Don't believe everything you think.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    Really, this isn't true...
    Based on how many "larger" people I know of who have a hard time finding mates I'm not sure? To be honest, I really don't care much either way. The real question is why should the government have any business telling us what kinds of foods to eat or not eat? Soon they will be telling you what cloths to wear or what color to paint your nails. It's a bit of a slippery slope and really none of the governments business.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  14. #14
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    Sad as it sounds there is a darwinian answer to that. The last thing we need is another invitation for the government to intrude in our lives to protect us from ourselves.
    Wait a minute. You are in the People's Republic of California, correct? Have they discovered you are in their midst? :-)

  15. #15
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    We tried that, and we had an obesity epidemic.
    When did it start?

  16. #16
    Junior Member Blutarsky's Avatar
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    They realize that they are part of a community, and as a community need to either fix a problem, or finance it in some way. "Shared sacrifice" is an integral concept to Denmark.
    $1 to Karl Marx. Good grief. It has nothing to do with communism, it's a tax to increase state income under the guise of regulating health, as stated above, and with the ridiculous tax rates already in place it's a minimal increase to the consumer. I wouldn't have a problem with that, but I shop on the perimeter of the grocery store anyway.

    Sayre Kulp had it right - you are responsible for you. If you eat crap, you look/feel like crap. None of the government's business NOR responsibility.

  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    When did it start?
    I was going to wait for the standard statist answers - "1980s", "1990s", etc. But I'm impatient.

    Americans have been alarmed at obesity for a long time. Diet manuals and low-calorie cookbooks have been around for decades. I just did a newspaper search and came across an 1884 article that described 'society' women in Chicago having a 'concern of epidemic proportions' about obesity. I'm sure that's not the only one.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    I was going to wait for the standard statist answers - "1980s", "1990s", etc. But I'm impatient.

    Americans have been alarmed at obesity for a long time. Diet manuals and low-calorie cookbooks have been around for decades. I just did a newspaper search and came across an 1884 article that described 'society' women in Chicago having a 'concern of epidemic proportions' about obesity. I'm sure that's not the only one.
    There is an entire world-wide industry based on obesity and people's self-conscienceness. Diet companies, fitness and "fat" clubs, fitness equipment companies, the clothing industry, drug companies, the medical system... there are many, many vested interests in keeping a community as large as possible, then selling them "solutions".
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  19. #19
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blutarsky View Post
    If you eat crap, you look/feel like crap. None of the government's business NOR responsibility.
    Hmm, there's a danger of this thread being moved to P&R, I should think. If one believes that the Government has a measure of responsibility for the economy, then it isn't unreasonable to suggest that it should take an interest in a source of increased absence from work, poor productivity, high healthcare costs impinging on employers' payroll costs and so on.

    And in many parts of the world, people ask what is the point of a State that does not attempt to secure the well-being of its citizens?

    Just sayin...
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  20. #20
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    No point blubbering about it...

    KeS

  21. #21
    Senior Member snowman40's Avatar
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    If it was here (in the US), I'd call it for what I see it as - a money and power grab. Since it is on the other side of the pond, and I don't know the political dynamics, I don't know what it is. What are they doing with the money collected?

    How do they compensate for the schmuck who puts extra of something because that's how he likes it and therefore assumes that's how everyone likes it? I've gotten numerous burgers with a drop of ketchup and so much mustard all I can taste is the mustard.

    If they really wanted to solve a problem, they would regulate portion sizes as I've read too many stories of how our brains and bodies use fats and sugars. I've noticed reducing fat and sugar to near 0 I don't function mentally nearly the same as when consuming fats and sugars. So to compensate for that, I just ride further and faster. I'm taking responsibility for my size and decisions, I didn't get fat overnight and I won't be skinny overnight. Thankfully, I'm not on any type of meds, so I'm healthy, well, except for the extra 100 pounds I currently carry.
    Quote Originally Posted by snowman40
    If you must speed up to pass me, you don't deserve to pass me
    Quote Originally Posted by abstractform20 View Post
    farts are greatly appreciated as long as the other riders are talented and experienced. at the precise moment of release, a vacuum is formed. this is the optimal time for the rider behind you to get as aero as possible and "ride the brown rhino". his face should be within 2-3mm of the anus to receive maximum benefit (reduced drag...duh, its in a vacuum). i have hit speeds of over 53mph in such conditions.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    Wait a minute. You are in the People's Republic of California, correct? Have they discovered you are in their midst? :-)
    Hahaha They'd have to leave the comfort of their mega cities to come out here to what California really is to find me. Don't tell them though. Lets keep it our little secret so that I can keep riding my bike through the beautiful countryside without the minions getting in my way.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  23. #23
    Senior Member McCallum's Avatar
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    Actually; McD's is thanking a community in the Poeple's Republic of Cali; soon we will e selling the Happy meal with ONLY APPLES; so guess what? If your kid wants FRYS with that --- your happy meal is a $1.00 more; Oh yeah and only three ozs of frys instead of 4ozs!! Thank you San Diago for increaseing the profit margins of my owner so I can get that raise! Also thank you that I will have to listen to customers complain cause thir kids can't get frys with a happy meal!!

  24. #24
    Senior Member snowman40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McCallum View Post
    Actually; McD's is thanking a community in the Poeple's Republic of Cali; soon we will e selling the Happy meal with ONLY APPLES; so guess what? If your kid wants FRYS with that --- your happy meal is a $1.00 more; Oh yeah and only three ozs of frys instead of 4ozs!! Thank you San Diago for increaseing the profit margins of my owner so I can get that raise! Also thank you that I will have to listen to customers complain cause thir kids can't get frys with a happy meal!!
    Just leave the city limits of San Fran, happy meals with toys and fries. Of course, my kids only get the meals with chocolate milk and apples anyways, because I decide what they get to eat.

    The best is when schools ban chocolate milk. If my kids bought lunches 1 time a week like I did, I wouldn't mind them having chocolate milk. 1 time a week isn't going to make kids fat, all the junk they eat at home is making them fat. Oh, and the lunches that they get at schools are the healthiest either, so banning chocolate milk isn't the smartest decision either.
    Quote Originally Posted by snowman40
    If you must speed up to pass me, you don't deserve to pass me
    Quote Originally Posted by abstractform20 View Post
    farts are greatly appreciated as long as the other riders are talented and experienced. at the precise moment of release, a vacuum is formed. this is the optimal time for the rider behind you to get as aero as possible and "ride the brown rhino". his face should be within 2-3mm of the anus to receive maximum benefit (reduced drag...duh, its in a vacuum). i have hit speeds of over 53mph in such conditions.

  25. #25
    Senior Member orionz06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sayre Kulp View Post
    Whatever happened to personal responsibility?
    Some would rather be told what to do than live their own life.

    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    Sad as it sounds there is a darwinian answer to that. The last thing we need is another invitation for the government to intrude in our lives to protect us from ourselves.
    Correct.

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