FNRI, Johns Hopkins University to work on tax modeling

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

May 23, 2022, 7:28 pm

MANILA – The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) and the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) will work together on tax modeling, studying what could be the basis of taxes on food products high in sugar, salt, and saturated fat.

"Ang tax modeling ay ginagawa upang masuri ang magiging epekto ng pagpataw ng bagong buwis sa mga pagkaing mataas sa asukal, asin at taba sa kalusugan ng populasyon at ekonomiya ng bansa (Tax modeling determines the effect of imposing new taxes on foods high in salt, sugar and saturated fats on the population's health and the economy)," FNRI Director Imelda Agdeppa told the Philippine News Agency on Monday.

The government, she said, could use this study as the basis for taxes on such food products.

"Imposing taxes on unhealthy foods aims to lessen the number of people who die or get sick from consuming these foods," she said.

Agdeppa, however, said the FNRI does not have a say on whether there is a need for higher taxes.

"We just model the increases in intake of these nutrients to a certain threshold which could be the basis for taxing excess amounts in the product," she said, adding that JHU approached the FNRI to talk about the collaboration, Agdeppa said.

The two will use data from the 2018-2019 Expanded National Nutritional Survey (ENNS).

"FNRI shall provide the investigators access to a dataset containing all the requested and approved variables of the 2018-2019 ENNS for the studies on the health and economic effects of taxes on sugar, salt and saturated fat," Agdeppa said.

"The JHU wants to know the nutrient cut-offs or thresholds, or the nutritional basis included in the Philippine Nutrient Profile Model (to use it in tax modeling)," she said.

She said nutrient profiling is being used to classify food products based on their nutrient composition. This model determines which foods are healthy and unhealthy according to the nutrient cut offs set in this model.

The Philippine Nutrient Profile Model was created with the help of food and nutrition experts in the country. (PNA)