ANN/THE STRAITS TIMES – Singapore outlets selling freshly prepared drinks that have a very high level of sugar and saturated fat content must label them with a Nutri-Grade mark in their menus by the end of next year, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Thursday.
Such beverages include freshly brewed coffee, freshly squeezed juices and bubble tea.
This rule will come after the requirement for pre-packed beverages with higher sugar and saturated fat to be labelled with a Nutri-Grade mark kicks in on December 30.
“It is a neutral or even nice name, but the message to consumers is to avoid those with Nutri-Grade mark that indicates a high level of sugar,” said Ong.
The outlets will also be prohibited from advertising freshly prepared beverages with the highest level of sugar and saturated fat content, he said. The government is working towards publishing these measures in the middle of next year and have them come into effect by end of next year, Ong added.
This is part of the government’s efforts to influence consumers’ diet and sugar intake to win the war on diabetes. It fits in with the preventive care emphasis in its new healthcare transformation strategy, called Healthier SG.
Ong said that six new patients are diagnosed with kidney failure in Singapore every day, up from about four per day in 2011, and this number is driven mainly by two factors – age and disease prevalence.
Singapore is ageing and while diabetes prevalence has stayed quite consistent over the years, the prevalence of obesity – a key risk factor for diabetes – is rising.