Sin Tax on Salty Products

Did Sin Tax makes you healthier? Or not? Sacrificing other important things in order to fulfill addiction to cigarette and alcohol. If yes, the next two additional sin taxes will make you continue the health habits to the next level. The budget for regular soda and pack of potato chips might not be enough the next time. Monthly salary won’t get smaller. Your favorite snacks may gain significantly higher price tag instead.

Sweet tax and salty tax are being pushed in Congress. Paying more is not sweet but sure is salty.

I missed the sweet tax news but caught the salty one via GMA News Saksi. Let us talk about salt first.

Masbate 3rd District Representative Scott Davies Lanete authored the Housebill 3719 which aims to add sin tax to food items containing salt. The proposed is one peso for every mg exceeding 1/3 of recommended daily intake by the Department of Health (DOH).

What is the recommended daily intake? I can’t find any from DOH site. Maybe I was just too lazy to dig more. I resorted to what I easily found, the data from heart.org. Obviously, it is meant for Americans. Somebody please feed me with actual value! Thank you in advance!

American Heart Association recommends not exceeding 2,300 mg with the ideal limit of 1,500 for most adult.

Meeting the requirement is easy if we are not taking any salty foods. Just ingest 1/2 teaspoon salt and that is it. Then one teaspoon and you reached the upper limit. However, real life situation never works this way. We consume a variety of processed and natural foods a day that keeping track are only for mathematicians. We usually take excess because of junk foods.

Without looking at specific brand. If a large pack of fish cracker contains 1/2 teaspoon salt and the recommended daily intake is 1,500 mg. Then 2/3 of this should be paid as additional tax. That is whooping 1,000 pesos. Where is justice here? Never mind the actual cost. It is the tax that will make it cost more than a drop of gold. Manufacturers will surely reduce salt use and compensate the loss of flavor with other spices.

If we give it a second thought. The proposed tax intentions are good. Meant to increase tax collection and force people into healthy lifestyle. Tons of encouragements through tv ads, flyers and seminars simply do not work.

What is the case for salt manufacturers and traders? I am still clueless. They may never get the same tax imposition but their sales will be affected greatly.

Salt is a silent killer causing high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Other countries like Vietnam, Uganda, Tanzania, Suriname, Sri Lanka, Panama, Morocco, Kenya, Jordan and Cambodia have implemented additional tax on salt containing foods.


update as of June 22, 2017

The manufacture of salt itself is not included. Salted seafoods like bagoong, tuyo and daing are also exempted.

According to the bill author and at the same time doctor, the maximum daily sodium limit for adult is 1500 mg. However, one pack instant noodles usually has 1800 mg. An excess of 300 mg.

The very same noodle will be priced at 800 pesos according to computation of opposing parties and manufacturers. A price surely anti-poor.

I think no one will buy noodle anymore. That price tag could provide me several decent meals. Even more when used to buy menu ingredients from public market.

On the other hand, instant cup noodles with 990 mg sodium might cost 490 pesos and canned sardines with 610 mg sodium content is 110 pesos (according to Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate).

The author plans on revising the bill. It will still raise the price of salted goods.


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