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Thai food industry to be hit with ‘salt tax’ soon

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The Excise Department has been instructed to find a way to impose a “salt tax” on the food industry so sodium levels in ready-to-eat food can be controlled and subsequent health problems avoided.

This “salt tax” will follow the same model as the sugar tax and will only be implemented once the economy has been revived.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said food manufacturers had cut down the amount of sugar used in food and beverages after the ministry imposed the sugar tax. Now they use alternative sweeteners like stevia instead.

Arkhom said that though the purpose of the salt tax was to cut down on the consumption of sodium, consumers should also be educated so they reduce the amount of salt they consume themselves.

The recommended amount of salt people can consume daily is 2,000mg (milligrams), but Thais on average consume 3,600mg. The government hopes to reduce the daily consumption of sodium by 20 per cent or 2,800mg within 10 years and the salt tax will encourage operators to find sodium substitutes.

Nattakorn Utensut, the Excise Department’s deputy spokesman, said the new tax will be imposed once the economy improves and the GDP grows by more than 1.6 trillion baht.

 

Thai food industry to be hit with ‘salt tax’ soon

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The tax will be announced six months to a year in advance so the industrial sector has the time to make preparations.

He added that the department had the tax structure ready for nearly three years now but has not been able to impose it due to the Covid-19 crisis. The target foods for this tax are instant noodles, frozen and chilled meals, snacks and seasonings.

Published : November 27, 2021

By : THE NATION