Make food healthier, say health ministers

Countries in the EU should each put a national plan in place to “make the healthy choice easier for consumers by 2020”.

The proposal, put forward by the Council of Health Ministers, calls for an increase in the availability of low fat, salt and sugar foods as well as improved availability of smaller or reduced portion sizes.

Local and traditional foods that are “intrinsically tied to a country’s culture and heritage could be subject to special consideration”, however.

Ministers in the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, also highlighted the importance of public procurement guidelines.

They concluded: “Food business operators throughout the food chain have a responsibility towards improving the products and meals they offer and, by doing so, contribute to making the healthy choice the easy choice.

“Guidelines on the composition of foods to be provided by public bodies (such as hospitals, schools and residences for elderly people or students), including through public procurement, can also play a major role in supporting these objectives,” they added.

Improving the quality and healthiness of food is a priority for the Dutch presidency.

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