New legislation soon for sugar levels to be mentioned on labels

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Legislation introducing restrictions on the use of sugar by artificial beverage manufacturers will come into effect soon.

Director General Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala, addressing the media yesterday, disclosed that the Environmental and Occupational Health Division of the Health Ministry had drafted a provision to be incorporated into the Food Act to make it compulsory for all beverage manufacturers to reduce the sugar levels drastically in their products.

Dr. Maheepala pointed out that though some beverage manufacturers had agreed to display the sugar level in their product on labels, some of them did not do so. However, that agreement was not legally binding. Therefore, the Ministry was compelled to introduce new legislation for all beverage manufacturers to display on labels indicating sugar levels––less than two per cent in Green, six to ten per cent in Amber and more than ten per cent in Red.

Most parents were indifferent to the eating habits of their children who preferred junk food, Director Nutrition Division of the Health Ministry Dr. Senarath Mahamittawa said, adding that there was a workforce of 16.4 million contributing to the Sri Lanka's economy. But if they ate unhealthy food, their productivity and their numbers would diminish eventually. It was the responsibility of parents to teach their children proper eating habits, he said.

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