KUALA LUMPUR: The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) is sceptical of the Health Ministry’s statement that it will soon announce new regulations on the sugar content in food and drinks.
Its president S.M. Mohd Idris said bold measures and Government's commitment were needed in the war against excessive sugar consumption.
“The ministry had given CAP this assurance several times over the years but had taken no concrete measures,” he added.
He said when CAP re-launched its anti-sugar campaign in 1998, first initiated in 1992, it was told by Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng that discussions were being held with manufacturers to reduce the sugar in their food and drinks.
“It has been five years since and no move has been made against manufacturers to control the sugar content,” he said, adding that Malaysians’ consumption of sugar was at a “crisis level.”
On Monday, Chua had said he would announce the new regulations soon but declined to elaborate.
Figures from 1999 showed Malaysians were among the highest consumers of sugar in South-East Asia, with an average of 24 teaspoons (120mg) consumed by each person daily.
“The daily allowable intake of sugar set by the WHO is about 10 teaspoons,” said Mohd Idris.
“Fizzy or carbonated drinks are wrongly advertised as thirst quenchers but have excessive sugar content,” he claimed.
Mohd Idris also said CAP had many times voiced its concern on the presence of vending machines selling fizzy drinks at Government hospitals and schools.
He said the drinks created an unnecessary temptation.