Hungary Launches 'Fat Tax'

Salty, sugary foods now 50 cents more expensive
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 2, 2011 1:22 PM CDT

(Newser) – Chocolate cake won’t make you any thinner—but in Hungary, it’ll make your wallet lighter. Yesterday, the country instituted a “fat tax” of about 50 cents on foods loaded with salt, sugar, and fat. Among a sweet-toothed population, the tax is expected to bring in some $100 million a year, money that will go to state health care costs. The extra funds will help pay for obesity-linked health issues in a country whose 18.8% obesity rate is more than three percentage points higher than the EU average.

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With Hungary facing a health care deficit of $527 million, “those who live unhealthily have to contribute more,” the prime minister has said. The tax might be tough on Hungarians, who are used to “very fatty” food, says a tour company rep: Pork and goose fat are traditional ingredients, and “what they call bacon here is often pieces of pure lard.” Plus, “Hungarians are really into desserts.” Other European countries may follow Hungary’s lead, Der Spiegel notes. (Read more Hungary stories.)

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