FOOD entrepreneurs and exporters expressed support for a House bill to amend the ASIN Law (or An Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide), saying they find the law detrimental to the growth of the Philippine sea salt industry.
In a position paper, the Competitive Currency Forum (CCF) said it favors the passage of House Bill 4939, to be known as the “Revised Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide.”
HB 4939, “An Act Exempting Philippine Sea Salt from Mandatory Iodization, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 8172, Otherwise Known as an Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide (ASIN), and for Other Purposes,” seeks to exempt sea salt from mandatory iodization.
With mandatory iodization of salt, the ASIN Law has “effectively discouraged the sale of natural sea salt, thereby inhibiting the development of local sea salt farming,” the position paper explained.
“The Department of Trade and Industry has pointed out that the local salt industry is finding it hard to compete with the global market of salt and food products with salt ‘due to the restriction for salt producers to offer a wide array of different salt types even in the domestic market.’
“The ASIN Law is also seen to limit innovations on the type of salt that will fit the needs of a product, as well as leads to the loss of some nutrients during processing. With this, small local salt farmers are unable to compete with large salt producers especially in the global market.”
The paper noted that the Philippines is a coastal nation capable of producing more sea salt. Yet, total Philippine imports of salt in 2012 was so huge at over $21 million, while total Philippine exports of salt from January to November 2013 was only $75,078.”
The CCF agreed that “the law proved to be a trade impediment to the development of the Philippine sea salt industry and even led to its decline.”
Philippine food products containing iodized salt were barred from entering the Natural and Organic Products Europe Show in London last April 2013 and the International Green Week in Germany last January 2014. With the growing demand for natural and organic products, “our natural sea salt and other products using natural sea salt are supposed to get higher value added from which our salt producers will benefit more,” said Clara Lapus, president of Mama Sita Foundation, a member of the CCF. (Philexport News and Features)