The new fat tax imposed by the Kerala state government has been in the news lately. The fat tax has been imposed on burgers, pizzas, French fries, doughnuts, etc served in quick service multinational restaurants. The idea is to curb the rising numbers in obesity in Kerala. Lots of discussions and debates are taking place on whether or not it’s a wise move.
In my opinion, it’s a first step in the right direction but needs much more thought, planning and better implementation. Imposing a tax only on a few high fat foods is not going to curb obesity. It might reduce the consumption of such foods by some people who cannot afford to pay the extra amount. However, there are many other foods made in our country (egs – namkeens, cookies, bakery items, etc) that are high in total fat or in trans fats, that are easily accessible to the public. How does one regulate them?
And what about the high sugar foods and beverages? Where do snacks and beverages made with high sugar, high fat and refined flour fit in?
The fat tax process needs to be more scientific, involving experts from the field of nutrition and health.