Supermarkets want VAT removed from organic food

Removing VAT would make more people buy organic, but government says the proposal is against EU law

Scandic has 230 hotels in seven countries (photo: iStock)
January 27th, 2014 4:27 pm| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Buying organic pork chops from healthy and happy pigs would be a lot more popular if they were cheaper.

One way to make organic food more attractive for consumers would be to get rid of the value-added tax (VAT, or moms, in Danish) on the products, says John Wagner, head of the national grocer's association, De Samvirkende Købmænd (DSK). 

"When a costumer at the refrigerated counter sees that an organic pork chop costs twice as much as a regular pork chop, that is a terrifying difference," Wagner told DR Nyheder. "We would love to sell more products that are healthy for both people and animals. That's a natural part of our responsibility as a society."

DSK represents 1250 supermarket stores like Rema 1000, Spar, SuperBest and the convenience store 7-Eleven.

Would be illegal state aid
But it would be against EU law to remove VAT on organic food products, according to Christian Friis Bach, Radikale's food and agriculture spokesperson.

"You cannot, may not and should not remove VAT on specific products to increase sales," Bach told DR Nyheder. "It could quickly become a slippery slope and it's even against EU regulations."

According to Bach, the EU would perceive it as illegal state aid if the government removed VAT on organic food, because it would favour the sale of some products over others.

READ MORE: Farmers giving up organic milk

Nevertheless, Bach agreed with the supermarkets that more should be done to boost sales and consumers' willingness to buy organic food.

"We have to do more to increase organic pork production and we are doing that by making more research and investments," he said.

The supermarkets joined the debate on organic food production after DR1 on Thursday aired the documentary 'Det store svinerige' (The great pork kingdom) revealing horrid living conditions of commercial pigs and illegal production methods at some of the nation's slaughterhouses.

The pen is mightier than the sword, but maybe not as strong as coffee (photo:istock)
Mental Floss: Let it out
  It is good for the constitution to get things off one’s chest,...
Untitled
This month’s quiz: Do you have what it takes?
  How to win Identify what the clues in each circle have in common...
Samba de Janeiro!
Out and about: Copenhageners captivated by the carnival
  Carnival was in town last weekend as a huge variety of nationalit...
It was time to punish the 'bad guys' (phoyo: istock)
Today’s date: Death penalty returns
  Following the end of World War II, the Danish parliament passed t...
Sit back and hope for the best (photo: istock)
Bid and overbid
  The election campaign started a long time ago. Everyone knew that...
Flea's a Cloud? (Photo: iStock)
How to negotiate a Danish institution: the flea market
Jake and I regularly have fun sifting through treasures at car boot sales. ...