India’s Kerala state proposes 14.5 percent ‘fat tax’ on fast food

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM , India, July 8 (UPI) — A state in southern India is proposing a 14.5 percent “fat tax” on fast food to raise $1.4 million in revenue for the government.

The 2016-2017 state budget in Kerala, on India’s Malabar coast, includes a tax on burgers, pizza and doughnuts, and will be applied to multinational companies including McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut. It is unclear if local cuisine will be included in the tax plan.

Kerala, which ranks second among India’s 29 states in childhood obesity, intends to raise $1.4 million through the tax.

Several months ago, India’s Bihar state enacted a 13.5 percent tax on candy, salted peanuts and other snacks. Denmark tried a similar program in 2011, targeting cheese, butter, pizza and other foods high in saturated fat, but it was cancelled within a year, with the government admitting it could not change its citizens’ eating habits. The United Kingdom currently has a tax on sugary soft drinks.

The Kerala budget also includes a new tax on old cars, pension increases and additional taxes on certain raw foods.

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