THE City Government of Davao has intensified its campaign against use of "magic sugar" banned by the government in 2000 after it was found to be harmful to one's health, said a city health official Thursday.

Although the use of "magic sugar" or Neotogen among street vendors in Davao City is not rampant, Lino Mascariñas of the city health office's (CHO) environmental sanitation section, said their office has been continuously distributing reading materials to warn the public about the ill-effects of "magic sugar."

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Neotogen is an artificial sweetener used in juice, softdrinks, ice cream, shake or popsicles that has long been prohibited by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). It contains a chemical sodium cyclamate that is harmful to a person's health.

Mascariñas said they have stepped up their campaign against Neotogen following reports that the artificial sweetener is once again proliferating in Metro Manila markets.

The use of Neotogen among street vendors in the city who are selling fresh juices, shakes and halo-halo have been contained after a task force has been created last year to conduct information campaign against the ill-effects of the product, said Mascariñas.

The task force also monitors vendors near city schools, who might be using the magic sugar to save on costs, since it is much cheaper than the regular sugar.

"We will strengthen our task force especially so that it is summer and more kids will be on the streets hence, they will be very inclined to buy sweet refreshments," he said. (Dean Rey Pondoc)