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12 Jan 2022

11th Jan 2022

NOTICE PAPER NO. 864
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 11 JANUARY 2021

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Dr Lim Wee Kiak
MP for Sembawang GRC

Question No. 2176

To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the current national daily sodium consumption rate of consumers in Singapore; (b) what measures are being taken to help Singaporeans adhere to a low-sodium diet; (c) what are the plans in the pipeline to reduce the national salt intake of consumers; and (d) whether sodium taxes are being explored.

Written Answer

Based on the findings from the National Nutrition Survey 2018/19, Singapore residents consumed an average of 3.6g of sodium per day. This is about 1.5 teaspoons of salt. This is also more than the WHO recommendation for adults to consume less than 2g of sodium per day. 

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) has encouraged the reformulation of reduced-sodium alternatives for home use. This has contributed to a good variety of reduced-sodium products available in the market, ranging from pre-mixes, soy sauces, and soup broths. Since 2018, HPB has also been offering grant support to sauce manufacturers, particularly those supplying into the food service sector, to reformulate their products to meet reduced-sodium guidelines through the Healthier Ingredient Development Scheme. Lower-sodium guidelines was introduced into the Whole-of-Government Healthier Catering policy in May 2021, which requires all caterers engaged by government procuring entities to use lower-sodium ingredients for all cooking and food preparation. 

HPB will expand the scope of its efforts to cover salt added during food preparation, which currently contributes more than half of sodium intake in our diet. We will also step up industry engagement to expand the supply and increase the uptake of healthier lower-sodium alternatives by F&B establishments. In addition, HPB will increase public education efforts to raise awareness on the need to reduce sodium in our diet and to generate demand for healthier options. More information will be shared when ready.

There are countries around the world that have imposed sodium taxes on processed foods that are high in sodium. These include Hungary, Mexico, Fiji and Tonga. MOH will study this, along with other fiscal and regulatory measures, to see how we can help reduce the sodium intake of Singaporeans.