Weighty issue

UK mulls tax on fatty food

Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

the uk is seriously considering slapping a tax on fatty food. A recent document brought out by Prime Minister Tony Blair's strategy unit observes that taxing unhealthy food might work as a "signal to society", helping people make the right choices. If imposed, the tax would affect the prices of food items such as burgers, cakes, biscuits, pizzas, potato wedges and chocolates. Dairy products like full fat milk and cheese would also be covered by the levy.

The strategy paper has been written in view of the sharp increase in obese people in the uk over the past 20 years. This has also led to a significant rise in government expenditure on obesity-related diseases.

Martin Paterson of industry body Food and Drink Federation says a fat tax would hit the poor who already spend a lot on food and drink. Besides, experts believe a fair imposition of such a tax might be impossible as it would be difficult to target fatty foods. For example, a pepperoni pizza rich in fats would have to be taxed but a veggie pizza will be exempted. Further, while people will be free to make a fat-rich pie at home, they would have to pay a tax if they buy the item as a finished product. Experts also differ on how much fatty food is responsible for obesity. While some believe in eating more carbohydrates for losing weight, others actually support consumption of more fats. It may be noted that last year, the British Medical Association had demanded a tax on saturated fats to tackle obesity.

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