Health Promotion Board
- Consultation Period:
- 23 Feb 2023 - 24 Apr 2023
Consultation on Draft Food (Amendment No X) Regulations 2023 and Sale of Food (Freshly Prepared Nutri-Grade Beverages - Exemption) Order 2023: Additional Measures for Nutri-Grade Beverages
1. The Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) and Health Promotion Board (HPB) are seeking feedback from stakeholders on the proposed new legislation under the Sale of Food Act 1973, to extend Nutri-Grade labelling requirements and advertising prohibitions to freshly prepared beverages for sale at specified settings in Singapore. Additional labelling requirements will also be introduced to beverages under the current Nutri-Grade measures. These include pre-packaged beverages sold in Singapore and beverages dispensed from machines.
2. The measures aim to further reduce the population’s sugar intake as freshly prepared beverages are another large and growing source of sugar in Singaporeans’ diets. Freshly prepared beverages include freshly brewed coffee or tea, freshly squeezed juices, freshly blended smoothies, bubble tea, freshly prepared herbal drinks, and beverages dispensed from machines.
3. The additional measures will apply to freshly prepared and existing Nutri-Grade beverages sold in specified settings, which include (i) retail settings such as food and beverage outlets and catering establishments, and (ii) non-retail settings such as hotels, workplaces, educational institutions, healthcare institutions and childcare facilities. MOH and HPB are working towards publishing the measures in the Government Gazette in mid-2023, to have them come into effect six months thereafter in end-2023. Key changes are summarised as follows:
- Freshly prepared Nutri-Grade beverage would have to be graded “A”, “B”, “C” or “D”, according to the Nutri-Grade grading system which is based on the beverages’ sugar and saturated fat content;
- If the freshly prepared or existing Nutri-Grade beverage is graded “C” or “D”, the Nutri-Grade mark must be labelled next to beverages listed for sale, such as on physical or online menus at their point of purchase. The labelling of Nutri-Grade beverages graded “A” or “B” will continue to be optional. To better help consumers in their decision making when selecting beverages from menus, a simplified Nutri-Grade mark has been developed and is to be placed next to the individual beverage listings;
- Information on freshly prepared Nutri-Grade beverages, such as the amount of sugar and saturated fat, must be available to any person who wishes to view the information, either through an electronic record or a physical copy; and
- Advertisements promoting the sale of a freshly prepared Nutri-Grade beverage graded “D” will be prohibited.
4. High sugar intake is linked to increased risk of obesity and diabetes. A 2021 local meta-analysis which included studies on Asian populations found that higher consumption of sugary beverages was associated with a 51% higher risk of diabetes, compared to lower consumption1. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on countries to take action to reduce individuals’ intake of sugar to as low as possible, stating that “nutritionally, people do not need any sugar2 in their diet”3 .
5. However, Singaporeans are consuming on average twelve teaspoons (or 58g) of sugar daily, of which pre-packaged beverages are the single largest contributor. In view of this, MOH and HPB published labelling requirements and advertising prohibitions for pre-packaged Nutri-Grade beverages sold in Singapore on 30 December 2021, which came into effect on 30 December 2022.
6. More than half of Singaporeans’ daily sugar intake comes from beverages. The additional measures, together with regulations 184A-184F in the Food Regulations, will enable us to better meet our objective of reducing Singaporeans’ overall sugar intake, by (a) helping consumers identify beverages that are higher in sugar and saturated fat and make more informed, healthier choices; (b) reducing the influence of advertising on consumer preferences, and (c) spurring industry reformulation.
7. To give effect to the above, MOH and HPB are working with the Ministry for Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) to amend the Food Regulations as elaborated within the:
Consultation Document for WTO Notification
9. The proposed amendments and exemption will be promulgated in mid-2023, and come into operation in end-2023.
Request for comments
10. MOH and HPB invite views and comments on the proposed new legislation to introduce the additional measures, as outlined in paragraphs 7 to 9 above.
Procedure and timeframe for submitting views and comments
11. All submissions should be clearly and concisely written and should provide a reasoned explanation for any proposed revisions.
12. Submissions should reach MOH and HPB no later than 24 April 2023 (60 days from the date of Singapore’s notification to the WTO Committee on TBT), through email to the following address: Nutri-Grade@hpb.gov.sg.
1 Nithya Neelakantan, Su Hyun Park, Guo-Chong Chen, Rob van Dam. (2021; In Press) Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, weight gain, and risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in Asia: a systematic review. Nutrition Reviews. [Notes: For the purpose of this study, “higher consumption” is defined as daily or almost daily consumption, with a median of 2 servings per day, and “lower consumption” is defined as rare or no consumption.]
2 Sugar here refers to free sugars, which is defined by the WHO as sugars added to foods and drinks, and sugar that is naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices. These do not include the sugars present in milk (i.e. lactose and galactose) and the sugars present in whole fruit and vegetables.
3 WHO (2016, Oct 11) WHO urges global action to curtail consumption and health impacts of sugary drinks [Press release] Retrieved from www.who.int/news-room/details/11-10-2016-who-urges-global-action-to-curtail-consumption-and-health-impacts-of-sugary-drinks