Health advocates have renewed the push for a "fat tax" in Australia after Denmark became the first country in the world at the weekend to impose a tax on fatty foods such as butter, milk and meats.
News Limited reports that Jane Martin, the senior adviser with pressure group Obesity Policy Coalition, said a fat tax was needed to curb rising obesity rates in Austalia, where six in 10 adults were overweight or obese.
"We think unhealthy foods should be taxed and the funds raised used to subsidise healthy food for people on a low income," Ms Martin was quoted as saying.
"We know price plays a role in our decisions, and taxes are used in alcohol and tobacco sales to change people's behaviours."
Denmark's new tax, designed by the country's outgoing government as a health issue to limit the population’s intake of fatty foods, will add 16 kroner ($2.87) per kilo of saturated fats in a product.
This means an increase in the price of a pack of 250 grams of butter, for example, by about 40 cents.
"It has been a chaotic week with a lot of empty shelves. People have been filling their freezers," Christian Jensen of an independent local Copenhagen supermarket told AFP.
"But actually I don’t think the tax will make that much difference. If people want to buy a cake, they will buy it. But right now they’re saving money," he added.
The new tax will be levied on all products including saturated fats -- from butter and milk to pizzas, oils, meats and pre-cooked foods.