Just read this while sipping my first cup of tea of the day and waking up gently:
Can they be lumping extra virgin olive oil in the same category as trans-fat laden hard margarine? Also, as the article says, 'some scientists' believe there may be other items more detrimental to health, such as 'salt, sugar and refined carbohydrates'.
This is hot on the footsteps of recent higher sales taxes on soft drinks (I believe you call them sodas in the USA) in several European countries, putting them in the same tax category as alcoholic drinks.
This raises a couple of questions in my mind:
Even the scientists are not in agreement as to what foods constitute a health risk. Extra virgin olive oil is good for the heart and arteries. Butter (real butter, not marg) is good for the brain, as is fatty fish. Meat gives us the most absorbable type of heme iron. Alcohol in moderation is associated with longevity. Salt, again in moderation, is so essential to life that animals travel long distances to find salt licks, and was once so precious that the Romans were paid in salt, hence our English word salary. Tomorrow new research may find new benefits for today's villanised foods, or topple the current nutritional darlings from their pedestals. Remember how they made us afraid of eating eggs and shrimp? Remember how they urged us to eat 60% of our daily calories in carbohydrates? Both ideas gone the way of the dodo, along with other nutritional myths based in some cases on poor research design (eggs got their bad rep based on one piece of research in which the participants were fed unrealistic amounts of powdered eggs; the high iron content in spinach was a typo, a misplaced decimal point in a food list). But the myths persist, gave us Popeye the Sailor Man who guzzled spinach to get his super strength. So today's danger is saturated fat, what will tomorrow's bad guy be? Will they then remove this tax and slap it on a new bad guy?
The other concern I have is the erosion of our individual liberties by a nanny state. I'm all for labelling, and allowing the consumer to make informed choices. But I don't want my choices to be dictated by artificially inflated prices because some bureaucrats have decided for me what's good and what's not. I have low blood pressure, doctors have repeatedly told me to eat more salt. Will that be taxed soon? I feed my child red meat once a week because he is growing and needs iron. That should be taxed, according to the Danes. The childcare books I read said that children below 2 years of age should drink full-fat milk--that will be more expensive than reduced-fat milk in Denmark now. And I'm sure other countries will follow Denmark's example, because it is an easy way of justifying yet another indirect tax to aid weakening economies in these days of financial crisis. Hey, they're only doing it for our own good because we are too dumb to make wise choices ourselves.
So they break up families, take obese children away from their parents under the pretext that they are abusing them and not looking after them properly (recent case). But half the population in several developed countries is overweight or obese. Will they put fat people in prison next?
If the governments were serious about protecting our health they would ban proven killers such as cigarettes outright, instead of just taxing them. They could make mandatory built-in breathalizers in cars, that would lock them so a drunk driver cannot be a danger on the roads. They could simply prohibit manufacturers of processed foods from using harmful ingredients, additives and manufacturing processes, rather than taxing the end consumer.
But they can't tax God for putting saturated fat in meat, milk, cheese and butter. It's there for a reason, the scientists just haven't figured out why yet. And don't forget that our modern factory farming methods have made meat much fattier than when the animals walked around all day to graze. So blame the factory farmers, not God, for excessive saturated fat in our meat.