Warning labels on sugary drinks may start by August

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MANILA — Trade and industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said government may begin requiring manufacturers or traders to put warning labels on high sugar content beverages as early as August this year.

On the sidelines of Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) workshop for small and medium enterprises Wednesday, Lopez told reporters that his office and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are meeting this day to craft rules in placing warning labels on sugary beverages.

This day’s meeting of the DTI and FDA also aims to identify which beverages with high sugar content will be included in the upcoming directive.

“We’ll select the products that will be included and what kind of warning we should put at the label,” said Lopez.

“We’re looking at about 28 or 30 percent grams above per serving, maybe it could be the basis [for identifying which beverages will be included],” he added in Filipino.

The trade chief said identifying the sugar content could be done in two ways — first is the sugar content in the pack, and second the sugar content per serving.

“Even looking in powdered juice drink, the pack is mainly sugar. But if you’ll mix it with water, you will look at its sugar content per serving,” he explained.

Lopez added that the warning should be placed at the front of the packaging with larger font size.

In a press briefing at the Malacañan Palace last week, the official bared that President Rodrigo Duterte himself pushed for this initiative upon learning that powdered juice drinks have high sugar content.

Health risks that are linked to consuming of too much sugar include diabetes as well as increases in heart disease risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure, and inflammation.

Meanwhile, Lopez said the government will also be discussing this initiative to stakeholders before the FDA will release the order on labeling of beverages with high content of sugar. -PNA

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