Colombo, March 18 (IANS): Sri Lankan Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said on Monday health authorities would introduce a colour coding scheme for packaged food, indicating levels of sugar, fat and salt, in an effort to curb non-communicable diseases.
Senaratne said the high use of sugar, salt and fat was causing many non-communicable diseases, including cancer. The Health Ministry has been gathering data and holding discussions with manufacturers for a year to introduce the colour coding scheme, reports Xinhua news agency.
“There are a large number of biscuit and sweets manufacturers in Sri Lanka. They sell over 80,000 tonnes products in the country. We need to reduce the use of sugar in these products,” Senaratne said.
“Since a number of biscuit manufacturers export their products to around 55 countries, they agreed to introduce a colour coding scheme, which is internationally accepted.”
In 2016, the Ministry had introduced a Traffic Light Labelling System on soft drinks and after that soft drink companies had reduced the use of sugar by 10 per cent in their products, he said.
“We think we can replicate that success here as well,” Senaratne said.
According to the 2016 regulations, drinks that contained more than 11 grams of sugar per 100 milliliters was indicated with a red mark and if the sugar content was less than two grams it had a green mark.
Sugar content between these two amounts was indicated in amber.