Food information to consumers - Commission proposal - COM (2008) 40 final 2008/0028 (COD) The European Heart Network s position in a nutshell

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1 Fd infrmatin t cnsumers - Cmmissin prpsal - COM (2008) 40 final 2008/0028 (COD) The Eurpean Heart Netwrk s psitin in a nutshell

2 Summary On 30 January 2008 the Eurpean Cmmissin published its prpsal fr a Regulatin n the prvisin f fd infrmatin t cnsumers. The prpsal cvers general infrmatin as well as nutritin infrmatin. The Eurpean Heart Netwrk (EHN) welcmes the fact that, fr the first time, mandatry nutritin declaratins are prpsed in EU legislatin. EHN ntes that clear and easily understd nutritin labelling is a crucial element in a strategy t address the massive nutritin-related health prblems in Eurpe such as cardivascular diseases and besity. EHN recgnises that the Cmmissin prpsal has gne sme way t meet health rganisatins demand fr a simplified frnt f pack nutritin labelling scheme. Hwever, EHN feels that the nutritin labelling requirements need t be mre cmprehensive. They shuld cnsist f a simplified frnt f pack labelling fr fur key nutrients f high relevance t public health allwing peple t assess at-a-glance whether a fd prduct cntains a high, lw r medium level f these nutrients. Cnsumer research in the UK and elsewhere shws that clur cding is prbably the best way t prvide this quick understanding. Fr the discerning cnsumer and peple with special needs, back f pack labelling must als be prvided and it shuld include infrmatin n energy, prtein, carbhydrates, sugars, fibre, fat, saturated fats, transfats and salt. EHN believes that the regulatin n fd and nutritin labelling shuld be adpted as a matter f urgency. EHN s psitin in a nutshell Bth frnt f pack and back f pack nutritin labelling must be mandatry. Back f pack labelling shuld cntain infrmatin n energy, prtein, carbhydrates, sugars, fibre, fat, saturated fats, transfats and salt per 100g/100ml Frnt f pack shuld serve as a sign psting guiding cnsumers at-a-glance twards healthier chices, that is why frnt f pack shuld nt have mre than fur key elements: energy, saturated fat, sugars and salt Multiple clur cding shuld be mandatry n frnt f pack, with red, yellw (amber) and green indicating high, medium and lw levels f energy and the three nutrients indicated abve %GDAs may accmpany clur cding n frnt f pack. %GDAs n their wn d nt allw a quick understanding f whether the nutrient is present at a lw, medium r high level. Research shws that peple like and understand clur cding whereas %GDAs are nt as easily understd Reference intakes in Annex XI shuld be reviewed All fd labelling must be legible. EHN agrees with the Cmmissin s prpsal that the label must be f a fnt size f at least 3mm and ensure significant cntrast between print and backgrund 2

3 Infrmatin and backgrund Eurpean Heart Netwrk The Eurpean Heart Netwrk (EHN) is a Brussels-based alliance f heart fundatins and ther cncerned nn-gvernmental rganisatins thrughut Eurpe. EHN has 31 member rganisatins in 26 cuntries. The Eurpean Heart Netwrk plays a leading rle in the preventin and reductin f cardivascular disease in particular crnary heart disease (CHD) and strke - thrugh advcacy, netwrking and educatin s that it is n lnger a majr cause f premature death and disability thrughut Eurpe. Cardivascular diseases and nutritin Cardivascular disease (CVD) is the number ne cause f death in Eurpe. It accunts fr mre than 2 millin deaths each year in the Eurpean Unin Cardivascular disease is estimated t cst the EU ecnmy ver 192 billin a year. 110 billin are fr health care csts (57%) and 82 billin are indirect csts due t lst prductivity (21%) and fr infrmal care (22%) It has been estimated that unhealthy diets are respnsible fr abut a third f CVD WHO estimates that mdest ppulatin-wide and simultaneus reductins in bld pressure, besity, chlesterl and tbacc use wuld mre than halve CVD incidence It is essential that Eurpe at all levels adpts and implements a fd and nutritin strategy aiming at addressing effectively the burden f chrnic diseases in Eurpe. The mst imprtant ppulatin dietary gals t prevent cardivascular diseases are fr: Saturated fats and trans fats Fruit and vegetables Salt Bdy Mass Index (BMI) Saturated fats and trans fats High intakes f saturated fat and trans fats raise chlesterl levels and significantly increase the risk f CVD Ppulatin gal: an average intake f saturated fats and transfats shuld be less than 10% f energy; intake frm transfats shuld be less than 1% f energy 1. 1 Diet, Nutritin and the Preventin f Chrnic Diseases, Reprt f a Jint WHO/FAO Expert Cnsultatin, WHO Technical Reprt Series 916, Geneva 2003, 3

4 Decreasing saturated and increasing plyunsaturated fat can lead t at a decrease f up t: 14% in ttal chlesterl and 44% in the risk f heart disease 2 Increasing trans fatty acids can lead up t a: 28% increase in the risk f heart disease 3 Fruit and vegetables Fruit and vegetables cntain a vast array f beneficial cmpunds which acting tgether are respnsible fr their prtective effects against a range f chrnic diseases including ntably cardivascular diseases Ppulatin gal: an average intake f mre than 400g/day (five servings) If every persn in the EU(25) cnsumed 400 g f fruit and vegetables per day, deaths per year culd be prevented. This represents deaths frm CHD (7%) and deaths frm strke (4%). If every persn in the EU(25) cnsumed 600g f fruit and vegetables per day, which is what is the average intake in sme EU cuntries, mre than deaths/year frm CHD and strke culd be prevented 4 Salt Reducing salt intakes lwer bld pressure and risk f CVD in peple with nrmal bld pressure as well as in peple with hypertensin Ppulatin gal: an average intake f less than 5g/day 5 Reducing salt intake by 3g/day can lead t a 16% decrease in cardivascular deaths 6 2 Turpeinen et al. Internatinal Jurnal f Epidemilgy 8 (1979):99 3 Omen et al., Lancet. 357 (2001):746 4 Lck, K and Pmerleau, J (2005). Fruit and vegetable plicy in the Eurpean Unin: its effect n the burden f cardivascular disease. Brussels. Eurpean Heart Netwrk 5 Diet, Nutritin and the Preventin f Chrnic Diseases, Reprt f a Jint WHO/FAO Expert Cnsultatin, WHO Technical Reprt Series 916, Geneva 2003, 6 Law et al, British Medical Jurnal. 302 (1991):819 4

5 Bdy mass index Overweight and besity can be prevented by the adptin f healthier diets and an increase in physical activity. Overweight and besity are partly related t the ver-cnsumptin f energy dense fds e.g. fds high in sugar and fat Ppulatin gals: An average BMI f 23 An average intake f less than 10% f energy frm added sugar An average intake f less than 30% f energy frm fat Overweight and besity increase the risk f CVD, diabetes mellitus, certain cancers, arthritis and breathing prblems. An increased risk f nn-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is perhaps the mst serius cnsequence f being verweight in terms f raising CVD risk. At least 80% f new cases f NIDDM can be attributed t excess weight gain 7 EHN welcmes the EU strategy n nutritin aiming at addressing diet-related ill health, such as besity, cardivascular diseases, cancers and diabetes. Fd and nutritin labelling is a crucial element f a fd and nutritin strategy. Nutritin labelling is an intrinsic part f educating peple abut what a healthy balanced diet lks like and what fds cntribute t it. Fr mre infrmatin, please cntact Susanne Lgstrup, Directr r Marleen Kestens, Netwrk Crdinatr Eurpean heart Netwrk Rue Mntyer Brussels Tel Fax Eurpean Heart Netwrk (2002). Fd, Nutritin and Cardivascular Disease Preventin in the Eurpean Regin: Challenges fr the New Millennium. Brussels. Eurpean Heart Netwrk 5

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