Health Ministry Won’t Regulate Bubble Tea’s Sugar Content

Dzulkefly Ahmad says it’s up to people not to consume excessive sugar.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — It’s not necessary for the Health Ministry currently to get bubble tea operators to reduce the sugar content in their beverages, Dzulkefly Ahmad said today.

Malay Mail reported the health minister as saying, however, that consumers should avoid bubble tea drinks that may contain over twice the recommended daily sugar intake.

“Bubble tea has become a popular drink and contains excessive sugar content of about 20 teaspoonful (100g) for 500ml, while the ideal amount is eight teaspoons (40g) for daily intake. This is well in excess,” Dzulkefly was quoted saying at an event at Giant Hypermarket in Subang Jaya.

“What is important is for consumers to be smart and make informed decisions, and not consume such products no matter how interesting it seem.”

He reportedly said it was up to people not to consume excessive sugar as this was not something that could be regulated by the government.

According to Mount Alvernia Hospital from Singapore, brown sugar milk tea with pearls, or boba, contains 18.5 teaspoons of sugar, making it the sweetest bubble tea beverage. A medium-sized 500ml bubble milk tea with pearls contains eight teaspoons of sugar. 

The sugar tax, which was imposed on pre-packaged sugar-sweetened beverages like carbonated drinks and juices from July 1, does not cover made-to-order drinks like bubble tea.

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