MANILA- The Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday it was mulling on proposing higher excise taxes on salty food such as processed meat and instant noodles to dissuade the public from eating unhealthy food.
Eating too much salty food makes one prone to diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, a leading cause of deaths in the Philippines, and kidney conditions, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo told reporters.
“It has been found in many countries that when you tax products that are unhealthy, talagang nagde-decrease 'yung intake and 'yung companies nagre-reformulate (the intake decreases and companies reformulate their products)…It’s something the Department of Health is studying,” he said.
The World Health Organization recommends a daily salt intake of less than 5 grams to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Filipinos on average, however, consume over twice the recommended amount at 11 to 15 grams per day, said cardiologist Anthony Leachon, also former president of state health insurer PhilHealth.
“Start training the kids right now kasi immature pa 'yung brains nila (because their brains are still immature),” Leachon said.
If the proposal becomes law, food products with high amounts of salt will be taxed higher to encourage the public to buy healthier options, Domingo explained.
The WHO also noted that the public should only consume iodized salt or those “fortified” with iodine since it is “essential” for healthy brain development of children and “optimizing” people’s mental function.