Jamaica Gov’t announces restrictions on sugar-sweetened drinks in public schools

(Jamaica Gleaner) As of 2019, beverages containing more than six grams of sugar per 100 milli-litres will no longer be allowed at public educational institutions.

That’s according to the Interim Guidelines for Beverages in School, which has been approved by the Cabinet.

It was tabled in the House of Representatives yesterday afternoon.

The guidelines, which take effect on January 1 next year, will prohibit sugar-sweetened beverages being sold or served to students zero to 18 years old in and around early childhood, primary and secondary-level educational institutions.

The prohibition also covers companies and groups involved in the provision of beverages to public schools, including canteen operators, vendors and teachers.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, who tabled the guidelines, said beverages brought from home are not included.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton

Under the guidelines, the sugar concentration in beverages will fall to five grams per 100 ml in 2020; four grams per 100 ml in 2021 and 2.5 grams per 100 ml in 2023.

Tufton said the restrictions on sugar-sweetened beverages will be applicable during school hours and special school activities.

He says the ministries of health and education are working together to implement plans to sensitise and train parents and vendors to ensure the long-term sustainability of the initiative.

Tufton acknowledged that while there is support for the guidelines from the private sector, there were concerns about the timing of its implementation.

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