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Indonesia to rule salt, glucose, fat content on food | Updated: 2012-08-14 14:54

The Indonesian government is to issue a new regulation putting a cap on the amount of salt, glucose and fat on ready-to-serve food marketed in the country this year, following a concern about unhealthy diet, a media reported here on Monday.

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The Health Ministry said the limitation of salt, glucose and fat content would help the public deal with the problems of unhealthy diet. Along with a lack of exercise, cigarettes and alcohol, bad diet has been blamed for obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol problems, considered major risk factors for non- infectious diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and chronic lung diseases.

The Health Ministry's director for non-communicable disease control, Ekowati Rahajeng was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying that the step was one of measures to improve dietary patterns of the Indonesian people.

"In the regulation, we will set a limit on salt, glucose and fat in foods. Once it takes effect, both processed-food manufacturers and fast food restaurants must label products with the amount of salt, sugar and fat in their products," she said.

"Now, we want all food manufacturers to also explicitly disclose the amount of salt, sugar and fat in their products," said Rahajeng.

Separately, head of the ministry's cardiovascular disease control Lily Banonah Rivai, said that with the planned regulations, the government would only be able to cap sugar and salt levels.

As for the standard on fat, the government would only give a guidance on the healthy use of fat.

"The amount of calories from fat we consume should not exceed 25 percent of total calories we need every day," said Lily.

With more Indonesians now living in urban areas, more are expected to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure and other lifestyle-related diseases.

The World Health Organization considers non-communicable diseases the leading cause of death worldwide.

It records that 36 million, or almost two-thirds of total 57 million deaths in 2008 were attributed to non-communicable diseases, mainly of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and lung diseases.

Indonesia has about 7 million people with diabetes, making it one of countries with highest prevalence of diabetes in the world after China, India and the United States.

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