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Harmful agents on health hit list

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, February 05, 2013

THE Ministry of Health is working with food manufacturers to reduce the level of salt, sugar and other harmful ingredients in products that contribute to non-communicable diseases.

Health Minister Doctor Neil Sharma said harmful ingredients that were concentrated in manufactured foods had not been reduced to the levels recommended by the ministry.

Speaking on the ministry's previous policy on the issue, Dr Sharma said it was an ongoing process as they continued talks with manufacturers.

"In some manufactured foods, salt has been reduced by 15 per cent and we are talking with Rewa Dairy in reducing the amount of salt they use in their butter," he said.

"Bumble Bee in Levuka now produces tuna in water rather than using brine solution which is a good development since the brine solution was usually concentrated with salt.

"We are also developing food standards for manufactured foods and we are closely working with manufacturers to ensure that these standards are adhered to," he added.

Dr Sharma said the ministry was also holding talks with local manufacturers in a bid to reduce the advertisement of junk foods in the media.

"We will also set up a national task force that will be able to assess the situation once these talks are formalised," he said.

Dr Sharma said it would take some time before an assessment could be made into how successful Fiji had been in the fight against NCDs.





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