Thailand plans to implement salt tax to advertise more healthy dwelling

Thailand plans to implement salt tax to promote healthier living

BANGKOK, Dec 13 (The Straits Instances/ANN): A salt tax, which was slated to have come into impact in Thailand this yr however was deferred, may very well be applied subsequent yr with a lead time of 1 or two years for industries to adapt.

This was disclosed by the president of the Nephrology Society of Thailand, Dr Surasak Kantachuvesiri, who additionally chairs the Thai Low Salt Community marketing campaign.

A Thai individual consumes a mean of three,636mg of sodium day by day – about 1.5 teaspoons of salt – virtually twice the World Well being Organisation’s really helpful 2,000mg.

“It is in our tradition to eat salty meals, fermented meats and fish sauce,” stated Dr Surasak.

Some 10 per cent of the inhabitants, greater than seven million folks, undergo from continual renal failure, a potential results of excessive sodium consumption.

Different ailments linked to extreme salt consumption embrace hypertension, coronary heart illness and diabetes, that are additionally frequent within the kingdom.

Thanaphon Dokkaeo, president of Kidney Illness Pals’ Affiliation of Thailand, stated the present state of affairs is regarding.

“Not solely is the quantity of people that want dialysis growing, we additionally see extra folks with ultimate stage kidney failure,” he added.

The federal government’s aim is to chop day by day sodium consumption by 20 per cent inside 10 years, which is according to a sugar tax applied in 2017 that led to a discount in sugar content material in candy drinks.

Numerous international locations around the globe, equivalent to Hungary, Portugal and Fiji, have applied levies on processed or packaged meals with excessive salt content material, whereas others have adopted sodium discount methods, equivalent to necessary vitamin labelling, client schooling and business rules to encourage product reformulation.

Nevertheless, a salt tax will face challenges, stated stakeholders and observers, given {that a} packet of prompt noodles – a staple in Thailand – already comprises 80 per cent of the WHO’s day by day recommended consumption.

Some although have but to be satisfied in regards to the effectiveness of a salt tax in Thailand, given {that a} packet of prompt noodles – a staple within the kingdom – already comprises 80 per cent of the WHO’s day by day recommended consumption.

The recognition of prompt meals and the necessity for high-sodium condiments in Thai cooking will make it troublesome to persuade producers to reformulate present profitable merchandise because it may have an effect on their style and gross sales, stated Siradapat Ratanakorn, a regulatory affairs guide at legislation agency Tilleke & Gibbins’s.

“Sure corporations have tried to launch new merchandise with much less sodium, however they can not regulate the top-selling product formulation,” she added, noting that some corporations would possibly select to pay the salt tax as an alternative of reformulating their merchandise if prospects proceed to insist on shopping for these with larger salt content material.

Thai Meals Processors’ Affiliation president Tust Thangsombat agreed that there was nonetheless robust demand for “conventional” and “genuine” merchandise with larger salt content material.

“It is like providing Coke Zero. Individuals will nonetheless need the unique product,” he stated.

Moreover, not all companies would have the ability to reformulate their merchandise and should push the burden of the salt tax to shoppers, he added.

However he believed there was little room for the business to oppose the tax, particularly because it has been touted as a measure “for the great of the folks”.

“If we oppose it, we shall be branded as dangerous folks,” he stated, including that the “solely good factor” was that the tax wouldn’t be imposed instantly because the business was nonetheless recovering from the influence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whereas some companies already manufacture more healthy merchandise with decrease sodium content material, Mr Tust stated the costs of such items have been often larger as they’re geared toward a distinct segment goal group.

Dr Surasak stated the proposed salt tax would have an effect on solely industrial meals, equivalent to prompt noodles, savoury snacks and frozen meals.

“It won’t have an effect on fundamental merchandise like salt or fish sauce,” he stated.

The eating habits of Thais shall be one other impediment to decreasing salt consumption.

Siradapat famous that surveys present that one-third of Thais eat out for his or her three day by day meals, whereas three-quarters eat their lunch exterior of their houses.

“The popular meals for the Thai inhabitants is road meals accessible from small curbside distributors. There aren’t many wholesome road meals choices,” she stated.

Dr Surasak stated that road meals contributed to just about half of the day by day sodium consumption amongst Thais.

“Clients ought to ask for much less salt or MSG after they order from road distributors. That is one thing shoppers and distributors should work on collectively,” he stated. – The Straits Instances/ANN

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