The European Commission has confirmed to just-food it is probing whether exemptions to Denmark’s short-lived so-called fat tax generated unfair fiscal advantages for certain meat and dairy companies.

Brussels has launched a state-aid inquiry using the EU’s competition powers, which will wrap up within 18 months. The tax came into effect in October 2011 and levied special taxes on food products containing more than 2.3% saturated fat. It was scrapped in January 2013, over concerns it was too complicated.

A Commission official told just-food today: “We’re going to look at whether the tax favoured certain products which were exempted.”

If the Commission concludes  these exemptions were unfair, it could demand that companies pay back-taxes they would have paid under the fat tax.