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Singaporeans urge MOH to reduce price of water instead of banning or taxing sugary drinks




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The Ministry of Health (MOH) is seeking public feedback on four measures it is proposing to cut overall sugar intake in Singapore.

MOH’s public consultation comes after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong declared war on diabetes during his National Day Rally speech last year. Health Minister Gan Kim Yong has said more recently that this war on diabetes is winnable.

Two measures MOH is considering implementing to cut overall sugar intake are banning and taxing some pre-packaged sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) like pre-packaged dry drink mixes, cordial, soft drinks, isotonic drinks, fruit juices and yoghurt drinks.

The remaining two measures MOH has proposed are tightening regulations on advertising less healthy food and beverages to children and enforcing a compulsory front-of-package label that shows the nutrition level of each product.

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Here are the four proposed measures, according to the Government’s REACH website:

Netizens responding to the four measures on social media have urged the Government to consider a fifth measure instead of banning or taxing pre-packages higher-sugar drinks: that is, to reduce the price of mineral water or make businesses offer water for free at restaurants.

Others online are lamenting that a sugar tax will just raise the cost of living further:

Members of the public can submit their views and suggestions to the REACH website from now until 6pm on 25 Jan 2019.

MOH reportedly declined to comment on when all or any of these measures might be implemented, when queried by reporters.

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