It is amazing what will pop up when you search the word “chocolate.” After searching the food blogosphere for interesting articles, I decided to cease my random clicking and take the most direct route to articles about one of my favorite foods. Almost immediately, I discovered this entry, “On Denmark’s ‘Fat Tax’”.
This post explains Denmark’s ‘fat tax’ which adds a tax to foods that are potentially harmful to individual’s health. Studies in health and nutrition have made connections between sugary foods and chronic diseases, such as heart failure, obesity, and diabetes. Denmark is trying to employ a tax that will discourage consumers from buying foods and products with high levels of sugars and saturated fats, such as “tobacco, ice cream, chocolate, candy, and sugar-sweetened soft drinks.” In a country that already provides low cost childcare, education and healthcare through taxes, the implementation of this fat tax might seem like overkill. Additionally, the obesity rate in Denmark is 13.4%. (The U.S. has an average of 15%.) However, while the idea of this tax is outrageous to many Americans, Denmark has already been taxing candy for almost a century. On the other hand, several other European countries have followed Denmark’s lead and adapted tax laws for their own citizens.
Although proposals for an American “fat tax” have been smashed every time they have been suggested, the sensitivity over food regulation proves to me just how much of an issue government interaction is. There is a clear message embedded in the opposition of this tax. While I think everyone values government protection, freedom of choice is even more important. It is imperative that we are given options, even unhealthy ones, and then choose for ourselves what food we consume.