Materia Medica Malaysiana

August 22, 2007

Ministry wants manufacturers to cut sugar content

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:11 am

Star: PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry wants carbonated drink manufacturers to reduce the sugar content in their drinks from 15gm to 5gm per bottle.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said there had been discussions with multinational and local food and beverage manufacturing companies, and “initially, an agreement was reached by all parties”.
“The ones we are having problems with now are the beverage manufacturers.
“We want the drinks to not have more than 5gm of sugar, they only want to reduce it to 9.5gm,” he told the press at the launch of the books Fruitastic!, Fruitastic! Malaysia, and Vegemania! here yesterday.
He added that the ministry set up a technical committee earlier this year to go through the contents of food and beverages in Malaysia with the aim of reducing sugar, salt and fat content.
“We want to have a label called ‘Healthier Choice Food and Drinks’.
“If these companies don’t agree, we will drop drinks from the list of food considered as the healthier choice,” he said, adding he would meet them for the last time next week.
Dr Chua explained that the beverage manufacturers were reluctant to reduce sugar content as Malaysians have “a sweet tooth”.
“They are worried that if the sugar content is reduced too drastically, Malaysians may not want to drink carbonated drinks anymore.”
He also said that the average Malaysian consumed 125gm of sugar a day, when only 50gm was needed.
He said a survey conducted in 1996 found only 11% of Malaysians exercised and 20% of them were overweight, but a survey conducted in 2004 found that while 13% exercised and 37% of the population was overweight.
“If we are not careful, this will translate into a rise in diseases such as hypertension, high cholesterol levels and diabetes,” he said.
On the books authored by Mohana Gill, Dr Chua said the timing of the launch was “excellent”, as it was in line with the Government’s health promotion.
In her three books, Mohana describes the benefits of various fruits and vegetables, and also shares her personal recipes using these ingredients.

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