Singapore takes further measures on war against diabetes

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The Ministry will introduce an advertising prohibition for the least healthy SSBs with the poorest label grade

As part of the War on Diabetes, the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) and Health Promotion Board (HPB) held a public consultation, and looked widely, broadly, with different interest groups, to seek views on measures to reduce Singaporean’s sugar intake from pre-packaged sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).

To encourage Singaporeans to make a more informed, healthier product choice and accelerate the industry reformulation efforts to reduce sugar content in SSBs, the Ministry has decided to introduce two measures.

First, a graded and colour-coded front-of-pack nutrient-summary label will be introduced to provide consumers with quick, at-a-glance information on the nutritional quality of the product, particularly on the sugar content – the sugar level, and percentage ratio in that SSB – so that they can immediately make an informed choice and make a conscious choice to choose the healthier product. The SSBs will be assigned a summary grade based on their nutritional quality – sugar will of course be a key but not the only determinant of that summary grade. The label will be mandatory only for the less healthy SSBs, and we are considering highlighting their sugar content on the label as well to warn consumers of these less healthy and high-sugar-content drinks.

Second, the Ministry will introduce an advertising prohibition for the least healthy SSBs with the poorest label grade, across all mass media channels and online channels as well. This will greatly reduce consumers’ exposure to advertisements of such products.

“With advances in food technology, on top of everything else, I am confident that companies can reformulate them to healthier SSBs. The Government will of course continue to support the industry in their reformulation efforts through grants and incentives, and will provide the industry with sufficient time to reformulate their products before the measures kick in”, said Edwin Tong, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law & Ministry of Health, Singapore.

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