Dentists demand sugar tax, teaspoon labelling on bottles Friday, 9 December 2016

Source: New Zealand Dental Association, 9 December 2016

The New Zealand Dental Association is launching a new consensus statement on Sugary Drinks endorsed by key health organisations. The actions seek to reduce harm caused by sugary drinks consumption.

The statement, launched today at Wellington's Brooklyn Primary School, highlights seven areas for action.

New Zealand Dental Association spokesperson Dr Rob Beaglehole said, "This is about informing the public about the negative health impacts of sugary drinks, and to advocate for a comprehensive approach to reduce sugary drink consumption."

The seven actions are;

• Introducing an icon on drinks indicating, in teaspoons, the amount of sugar in each drink

• Independent monitoring and evaluation of food marketing, with an emphasis on marketing that influences children

• Urging the government to adopt WHO limit guidelines on sugar

• Encouraging public to switch to water by;

- introducing warning labels highlighting sugary drinks as risk factors for obesity, diabetes, and toothdecay

- nationwide social marketing campaigns such as 'Switch to Water'

- Working with schools and the Ministry of Education to introduce 'water only' policies

- Introducing local council 'water only' policies at council facilities and events

- Introduction of a 'sugary drinks' tax in line with WHO recommendations

"Current sugar labels rely on confusing calculations such as sugar per 100ml or per 'serve', rather than the total amount in the bottle.

People are more familiar with teaspoon measurements. An icon label for number of teaspoons is needed for sugary drinks," says Dr Beaglehole.

The proposal would see a full-strength 600ml bottle of fizzy drink state 'contains 16 teaspoons of sugar'.

The Consensus Statement can be found at  healthysmiles.org.nz