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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Tighter curbs on food, oil products to boost health

Health Ministry wants to help Singaporeans eat healthier
The Straits Times - March 8, 2012
By: Poon Chian Hui
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Tighter curbs on food, oil products to boost health -- ST FILE PHOTO

FROM May, all cooked food outlets and supermarkets will have to use or sell healthier fat and oil products that meet new trans-fat limits. The Health Ministry wants to help Singaporeans eat healthier and cut the risks of heart disease.

All margarine, shortening and cooking oil will be allowed to contain only 2g of trans-fat per 100g, or 2 per cent.

Supermarkets will have to stock only products meeting the new limits, and these products must state the trans-fat levels on their nutrition information panels. The new rules will be gazetted this year and all importers can bring in only products meeting those limits. The industry itself will have a year, until next May, to adjust to the changes.

Right now, these three products - margarine, shortening and cooking oil - can account for up to 70 per cent of trans-fat Singaporeans eat on average.

Minister of State for Health Amy Khor told Parliament yesterday that three in 10 adults here consume more than the daily limit of 2g of trans-fat recommended by the World Health Organisation. Two-thirds are aged under 40.

Dr Annie Ling, director of the adult health division at the Health Promotion Board (HPB), said this group tends to smoke more, eat out more often and exercise less frequently. The change will mean that a curry puff will have less than 0.5g of trans-fat, down from the current 4g, she added.

Consuming 4g of trans-fat translates to a 20 per cent increased risk of coronary heart disease, according to studies.

To promote healthy living at the grassroots level, there will be a new grant for activities such as health talks and exercise programmes.

The Constituency Health Promotion Grant will be given out from next month. Each of the 27 constituencies will receive $10,000 a year, and 10,000 volunteers will act as health ambassadors by 2015.

Dr Khor will take the lead as the Chief Health Ambassador.

 

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