Schools are being urged to comply with the new sugar limit for sweetened beverages being sold or served on their campuses.
Effective January 1, sweetened drinks with total sugar concentration exceeding a maximum of five grams/100 ml, are restricted from schools.
This is a reduction from the limit of six grams/100ml implemented in January 2019. All schools are required to observe the stipulated guidelines for beverages sold or distributed to students as outlined by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information in a recent bulletin said that all beverages should indicate “sweetened” or “unsweetened” on the container or packaging label.
Unsweetened beverages meet the Interim Guidelines for Beverages in Schools, providing the list of ingredients does not include any type of sweeteners, whether artificial or natural. Packages may indicate “unsweetened”, “100% juice”, 100% coconut water, etc. The bulletin noted that the total sugar content for sweetened beverages must fall at or below the stipulated concentration of five grams/100ml.
The information listed on the nutrition facts panel will indicate the total sugar content.
Persons can also verify the nutrition content by requesting the certificate of analysis from the manufacturer.
The certificate will show the nutrition information even if the product does not have a nutrition facts panel. It will also prove that the nutritional information provided was obtained from testing by an accredited laboratory.
The Ministry of Education bulletin further advised that electrolyte sports drinks should be reserved for athletes’ use during training and competition.