Excise tax on food with high content of fat and salt being pondered

The Excise Department is pondering imposing tax on processed food with high content of fat and/or salt or sodium as part of the attempts to protect the health of consumers.

Describing food with high content of fat and/or salt as a threat to health, Excise Department director-general Mr Patchara Anantasilp said that the proposed excise tax would not be imposed in the near future as manufacturers would be given a grace period, probably five years, to make adjustments to the ingredients in their processed food.

According to the concept, manufacturers which can reduce the content of fat and/or sodium in their food would be subjected to lower taxation while those who cannot will be charged normal tax rate which is higher.

He assured consumers that they would not be affected by the tax measure which is expected to be tabled to the cabinet for consideration next month.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsattayatorn, meanwhile, admitted he was not aware of the full details of this tax idea but said that the Food and Drug Administration had already banned the use of trans fat in processed food.

However, manufacturer of Thaokae Noi snacks said manufacturers should be given considerable time to make adjustments. He noted that some manufacturers have already made adjustments on their own initiative.

According to information from Salt Consumption Network, average Thai people consume salt or sodium twice the amount needed by their bodies.  Eight years ago, Thais consumed an average of 4,000 grammes of salt a day, but the amount has been reduced to about 3,500 grammes compared to a bodily need of 2,000 grammes.


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