KUALA LUMPUR, August 20 – The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation ordered a review into a proposal to make mandatory for sweetened drinks to show images of the equivalent number of teaspoons of sugar contained within.
Presently, the amount of added sugar is listed within the nutritional information box on the product packaging. However, it is often listed under at least 40 different terms which can be confusing for consumers.
The review is welcomed by public health experts and parents’ groups as it would make it simpler for consumers to define healthy alternatives as opposed to trying to translate complicated label dietary data, reports The Guardian.
The labelling of sugars on packaged foods and drinks needs to be enacted, rather than merely reviewed,” said Terry Slevin, chief executive of The Public Health Association of Australia.
There is merit in offering as much data as possible to customers, but it is likely that the food industry will oppose it.
“If it’s managed properly it will be fine. But the difficulty always is that industry often has the final say in what goes on,” said Colin Binns, a professor at Curtin University.
Experts suggest only a “mild” quantity of sugar, no more than 10 percent of complete energy intake per day should come from added sugars. This is equivalent to 25 grams, or six sugar teaspoons a day.