The interior ministry and the Swiss food industry have agreed on measures to further cut sugar in yogurts and breakfast cereals.
The aim of a voluntary agreement for the country’s 14 main industrial food producers and retailers is to reduce the sugar content by up to 5% by the end of next year.
The deal is extending an initial accord, known as Declaration of Milan, signed two years ago.
“The voluntary approach has worked very well so far,” said Interior Minister Alain Berset at a news conference in Bern on Tuesday. He added that the government had no plans to introduce a special sugar tax.
The policy is part of the governmental food strategy and is to be continued until 2024. The economics ministry has also mandated a research project on the health risks of sugar.
Several western countries, including France, Ireland, Britain and Mexico as well as a number of states in the US, have, or are about to implement a surcharge on sugary-sweetened soft drinks in a bid to get tough on child obesity.
Sweet and fatty
The costs of health-related illnesses in Switzerland are estimated at CHF52 billion ($54.3 billion) annually.
Foods considered too sweet and fatty – as well as a lack of physical exercise – are believed to cause obesity, diabetes and cancer as well cardio-vascular disorders.
A global report published last year found that obesity rates in Switzerland were 4% among children and 12% among adults. Almost one in five children was overweight or obese, according to the Nutrition and Movement in Switzerland survey by the national Health Observatory.
Switzerland is among the 73 countries where the number of obese people has more than doubled in the past 35 years.
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