Thursday, 16 February 2012

Government nutrition measures

Last week I been very glad to read some news about the effort of some government are doing to tackle bad nutrition or bad habits nutrition in their citizenship. One of the bad sides or the globalization is that all the countries are having problem with the food industrialization, the phenomenon is well known in super rich countries like United States or United Kingdom who have been having already for generation obesity problems and any kinds of diseases linked with bad food habits, but the same problems have reached also countries like Italy or Spain who meant to  have the famous healthy Mediterranean diet, as well news super economic houses like Brazil or tiny south American countries like Uruguay are starting to deploy laws and politics to tackle the same problems that have fully developed countries.


Photo by Skyscrapercity Uruguay
The Uruguayan government is working in a list of allowed and disallowed food for the Uruguayan scholars that include recipes and nutrition guide for parents and teachers. The Uruguayan government is looking for change the diet of the little Uruguayan modifying the menu in the schools, and forbidden the selling of certain snacks, sweeties and even the famous and traditional  alfajores (two round biscuits joined with milk caramel and cover with chocolate). Anyway because the alfajores are part of the Uruguayan tradition they will able to have a healthier version make with corn starch and without cover. Soft drink and snacks are substituted with natural juices and fruits. A last year nutritional study discovers that the 43% of the Uruguayan kids are obese.

Massachusetts Usa

Massachusetts General Hospital
The Massachusetts General Hospital has introduced a system of Labelling and Choice Architecture Intervention to Improve Healthy Food and Beverage Choices in the coin operated food selling machines. Like in the supermarkets the selling machines have a selling strategy, where the products that are at the same level to our sight in the machine will be the star product. So the nutritionist and marketing experts of the hospital decided to make some changes, first labelling the food according to the nutritional facts, so soft drink received a red label like another sugar and saturates fat products and the healthier a green label. Then they relocate the products, the healthy one where put in the best-selling machines places, and the red labelled out to the direct sights of the consumers.
That two simple changes make that in few months the green label products become more popular with an increase of 4,5% in food products and almost 10% in healthy drinks. Meanwhile the red label selling records dropped to 9,6% in food and a drop of 16% in soft drinks.  The study has helped to understand the close relationship between marketing and bad nutritional habits and how easy can be change with little cost for the governments.

A clear labelling for the European juices

British supermarket juices by Echoplex7
New consumer-friendly labelling rules for fruit juices and nectars were approved by the European Parliament. They aim to prevent potentially misleading names for mixed juices and "no added sugar" claims.

Mixed juices
A mix of two juices must in future have a product name that reflects the contents, say MEPs. For example, a mixture of 90% apple and 10% strawberry juice would need to be called "Apple and strawberry juice". MEPs say there are current cases where only the minority ingredient is in the product name. A generic name like "Mixed juice" could be used if there are three or more fruit sources.

Sugars and sweeteners   
MEPs know that consumers – especially diabetics, parents and people on a diet – want clear indications on the difference between a 'juice' and 'nectar', and presence of any sweeteners.
In future, fruit juices will by definition not contain any added sugars or sweeteners.  'Nectars', made from fruit purée with added water, may contain added sugar or sweeteners. "No added sugar" labels will not be allowed on nectars containing artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin, to avoid potential confusion.

Pure orange juice?
Under international standards, many products sold as "orange juice" may contain up to 10% mandarin juice, which contributes to colour and taste. To maintain a level playing field, the new rules clarify that all imported and EU orange juice will need to be pure to be sold as such, or will include mandarin in the product name, if present.


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