THE Ministry of Health is working with food processors, restaurants and industries to improve labelling and food standards in Fiji.
Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said they were taking these steps because of the increase in the obesity problem in Fiji.
"There are too many fat people in Fiji," he said.
"Obesity is associated with high blood pressure problem, heart problems, cancer and all other non-communicable diseases," he said.
Dr Sharma said according to a recent report by the Health Ministry, 23.9 per cent of Fiji's population was obese.
Therefore, he said, the ministry had to advocate the fight against obesity before proceeding with legal means of addressing the problem.
"We are looking at improving labelling," Dr Sharma said.
"Shortly we will have standards like what is good food and what is bad food and then we will have the seal of approval by the Ministry of Health to say that this is good food."
He said the exercise would be aimed at the illiterate or those who could not make up their mind on what was good or bad for the body. "There is a need for advocacy, teaching, taxation and self-regulation," Dr Sharma said.
"We are looking at self-regulation with some food processors. We are not only working with mothers but we are also talking with the restaurants."
"Now that they are having a grading system in place, we are also talking to food industries to self-regulate. If they don't self-regulate, we will have to enforce it by law.
"Some enforcement will have to be applied," he warned.
"Enforcement will have to mean a review of the tax structure."
He said it was time that stringent measures were introduced in order to cut down on obesity figures.
"Sometimes we have to work around on taxation means to be able to shift people.
"If you increase the price of something like 10 per cent, eight per cent of the population will stop using it," said Dr Sharma.