In a letter to State Secretary Blokhuis of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Food Transition Coalition asks to take more account of recent research into healthy and sustainable food. The coalition thus responds to an ongoing consultation of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport about the product composition of food. In that consultation, only the opinion is asked about the amounts of salt, saturated fat and sugar in foods. Sustainability is completely disregarded.
The recent experience with COVID-19 makes it clear that public health requires much stronger government control and that the government must focus more on the use of healthy food. Furthermore, this crisis shows that many obese people are extra vulnerable. This means that policy development on healthy food and product improvement should pay more attention to recent developments in food science about the causes of obesity. In particular, it turns out that highly processed food is an important cause of obesity because this type of food leads to extra intake of calories, says the Food Transition Coalition.
The coalition thinks Blokhuis’ proposal is too non-committal and lacks hard instruments such as a sugar tax or meat tax. The parties argue that not only should the amount of salt, saturated fat and sugar in food products be considered, but also carbohydrates, fiber and proteins. The government wants a shift from animal proteins to more vegetable proteins in the diet, but this has not been addressed in the Blokhuis consultation. In addition, the consultation does not ask about the opportunities it would offer to internalize external costs for health care in prices throughout the chain.
The letter to State Secretary Blokhuis and the response to the consultation on a new approach to product improvement can be found on the website of the Food Transition Coalition.
source: Food Transition Coalition, 06/05/20
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