New laws to foster good eating habits

Zinhle Mapumu

Zinhle Mapumu

The new draft regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foodstuffs have been published in the Government Gazette for public comment.

The regulations, which will be open for public comment for a period of three months, aim to improve public health through healthy food choices and improved nutrition through food formulations based on the latest scientific evidence.

Department of Health spokesman Sibani Mngadi said yesterday that food labelling played a vital role in assisting consumers with reliable label information to make informed choices about healthier food options.

"Healthier food choices are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. The regulations also seek to implement the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation's Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health," he said.

The Health Department identified foods that were not regarded as essential for a healthy lifestyle. The long list includes sweetened drinks, biscuits, chocolates and fast foods.

Mngadi said the use of health and nutrition claims for such foods were prohibited and that these foods could not be advertised to children and on school premises.

Dietician Belinda Adams welcomed the draft regulations and said it was time that the food industry was regulated regarding food labelling. Consumers were duped by manufactures into buying certain products, claiming they had nutrients.

"I am also happy that the regulations will regulate the way advertisers use toys as a means of attracting children to buying unhealthy fast foods," she said.

lSee commentary on page 16