Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester earlier this week, Cameron told Channel 5 TV News: “A fat tax is something that we should look at.”
The tax should be considered because within 40 years more than half the UK population is predicted to obese, said Cameron. Obesity is already estimated to cost the National Health Service £9bn a year.
But speaking before Cameron’s comments earlier this week, a Department of Health spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We have no current plans to impose a fat tax. But we are working with food companies to reduce fat, sugar and salt and ensure healthier options are available.”
Collective voluntary effort through the Responsibility Deal is delivering real progress quickly, he said. For example, 82 companies either have eliminated artificial trans fats from their products, or will have done by the end of this year.
“Tackling obesity is a priority for the government and through Change4Life, we are encouraging people to make simple changes, such as eating more fruit and vegetables, cutting down on fatty foods and being more active,” said the spokesman. “We will be saying more about our plans to tackle obesity in a new document later this year.”
Earlier this week, Denmark announced its intention to impose a tax on foods with more than 2.3% saturated fat.