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Government sets up committee to promote reduction of salt and sugar in food

     The Government today (March 13) announced the establishment of the Committee on Reduction of Salt and Sugar in Food. The Committee is responsible for making recommendations to the Secretary for Food and Health on the formulation of policy directions and work plans to reduce the intake of salt and sugar by the public, as well as to reduce salt and sugar in food.

     The Chairperson of the Committee is Mr Bernard Charnwut Chan, Executive Council member, and the Vice-chairperson, Dr Mak Sin-ping, the first Controller of the Centre for Food Safety. Members of the Committee comprise representatives from different sectors, including healthcare professional organisations, the food trade, the relevant academia, the media, consumers and the education sector.

     The Government also continues to appoint the five renowned public health experts from the Mainland and overseas as members of the International Advisory Panel on Reduction of Salt and Sugar in Food (formerly known as International Advisory Panel on Reduction of Dietary Sodium and Sugars in Hong Kong). They will share successful international experiences in promoting the reduction of salt and sugar in food to tie in with the work of the Committee.

     The appointments of both the Committee and the Panel are for a term of three years from March 15, 2015, to March 14, 2018.

     A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said salt and sugar are closely related to health. Excessive dietary salt intake will increase the risk of developing hypertension, stroke and coronary heart diseases, while excessive dietary sugar intake will lead to obesity and dental caries.

     "According to a survey conducted by the Census and Statistics Department in 2011-12, 34 per cent of the local population aged 55 or above suffered from hypertension. Another survey conducted by the Department of Health in 2012 found that about 37 per cent of the local population aged between 18 and 64 were classified as overweight or obese. Obesity increases the risk of a number of chronic diseases. As such, the Government plans to devise and implement a strategic plan to reduce intake of salt and sugar in food to promote a healthy diet. The Committee and the Panel are set up to take forward the work," the spokesman said.

     The Committee will convene its first meeting on March 27. Its terms of reference are as follows:

1. To steer the direction and coordinate the work of  reducing salt and sugar intake by the local population, including:
- assessment and monitoring of the local situation;
- setting out priority areas for reduction of salt and sugar in food and formulation of local reduction targets; and
- promotion and public education strategy.

2. To formulate and oversee the implementation and evaluation of the Action Plans for Salt and Sugar Reduction in Food in Hong Kong.

     Membership of the Committee is as follows:

Mr Bernard Charnwut Chan

Dr Mak Sin-ping

Non-official members
Mr Alfred KT Cheung
Mr Langton Cheung Yung-pong
Professor Kwan Hoi-shan
Professor Annisa Lee Lai Chun-hing
Mr Lam Chiu-wing
Ms Sylvia Lam See-way
Dr Lau Suet-ting
Mr Lee Yuen-hong
Professor Ronald Ma Ching-wan
Mrs Elizabeth Mok Lee Mi-yu
Ms Jo Ngai Yee-shan
Dr Grace Poon Wing-kit
Dr Ricky Szeto Wing-fu
Mr Terry Ting Ho-yan
Mr Raymond Tong
Dr Jimmy Wong Chi-ho
Mr Clory Wong
Ms Gilly Wong Fung-han
Mr Jason Wong Ho-yin
Mr Kelvin Yau

Ex-officio Members
Representative of Food and Health Bureau
Representative of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department
Representative of Department of Health
Representative of Education Bureau

     The five members of the Panel are Professor Norman Campbell from Canada, Professor Graham MacGregor from the United Kingdom, Professor Bruce Neal from Australia, Professor Pekka Puska from Finland and Professor Zhao Wenhua from the Mainland.

Ends/Friday, March 13, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:38


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