Parliament: Curbs on tobacco and fatty food for a healthier Singapore

Elizabeth Soh
Elizabeth Soh
40 Hawker Centres will be joining the Healthier Hakwer Centre Scheme

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced a series of 'healthy lifestyle changes' in Parliament on Tuesday to improve the well-being of Singaporeans.

These include better and clearer food advertising guidelines with 'warnings' for food which is high in fat, sugar or salt and stricter controls on tobacco sales.

Gan also said that his Ministry was also looking into banning the display of tobacco products at their point of sale - meaning that Singaporeans will need to ask for their cigarettes when they want to buy them.

On the healthy eating front, 40 more coffeeshops, hawker centres and food courts will be joining the "Healthier Hawker Centres" scheme this year.

Vendors who participate in the scheme will use healthier ingredients such as wholegrain noodles, brown rice and salt with reduced sodium, and cook with oils lower in saturated fat content.

Their menu boards will also be labelled with calories per serving, with lower fat alternatives highlighted for consumers.

Minister of Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan also announced that Singapore would have five new hawker centres by 2016, with one centre each at Yishun and Bukit Panjang.

Dr Balakrishnan said that planning works for a total of 10 centres have begun and will be completed within the next five years.

He assured existing first-generation hawkers concerned over high rents that they would be able to continue paying their subsidised leases even after they expire between 2014 and 2017.

He also noted that 55 per cent of leases awarded over the past year were at rental rates lower than before - something he attributed to the removal of minimum rents for hawker stalls, a scheme implemented in April last year to reduce rents.

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