Factwire: Hong Kong’s ‘healthy’ food labelling scheme may mislead shoppers

A government food labelling scheme designed to promote healthy eating among Hongkongers has a loophole: products tagged as low in one potentially unhealthy ingredient may be high in another one.

At least 12 products labelled “low sugar” or “no sugar” under the voluntary “Salt/Sugar” Label Scheme for Prepackaged Food Products contain excessive sodium or salt; similarly, at least five products labelled “low salt” or “no salt” contain excessive sugar, FactWire has found.

After receiving inquiries from FactWire, the government removed over 30 per cent of the products under the scheme from its website with the consent of their manufacturers or distributors, adding that it plans to update the scheme’s specifications to avoid misunderstandings in the future. But some of the high-sugar or high-salt products labelled “low salt” or “low sugar” were still available for purchase at the time of writing.