Policy, trade, economic, and technological aspects of improving nutrient intake and lifestyles in the European Union
Hautvast J., Elmadfa I., Rayner M.
1. A new Nutrition Committee for the European Union. 1.1 A new Nutrition Committee for the European Union, should be created to give independent scientific and policy advice on nutrition, diets and physical activity to the Commission. This should be supported by a strengthened Nutritional Unit within the Commission 2. Policy development. 2.1 There needs to be a comprehensive and coherent nutritional policy for the EU 2.2 The development of European dietary goals should continue after the completion of the Eurodiet Project. 2.3 The European Commission should revise its Recommended Daily Allowances for vitamins and minerals using a systematic, evidence-based approach. Recommended Daily Allowances should be set at a level which would prevent deficiencies and lower the risk of disease. 2.4 The European Commission should produce, preferably every four years, a report on the state of nutrition, diet and physical activity in the EU. This report should contain proposals for action 3. Components of a nutrition policy: Education. 3.1 The European Commission should not be involved in the direct delivery of lifestyle advice to the public. 3.2 The European Commission should continue to support networks whose members are involved in educating the public and in training professionals about nutrition, diets and physical activity. Research: 3.3 European Community funding of health-related research should better reflect the Community's public health priorities. 3.4 The European Community should ear-mark funds for large, multi-centre studies into nutrition, diet and physical activity with a duration of up to 10 years. Consumer protection: Food labelling. 3.5 The European Commission should draw up proposals for the regulation of health claims. 3.6 The European Community should agree rules for the use of nutrition claims along the lines agreed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. 3.7 The European Commission should review the 1990 Nutrition Labelling Directive particularly with a view to making nutrition labelling more comprehensible and it should encourage the development of other ways of providing consumers with information about the nutrient content of foods though, for example, the Internet. Food composition. 3.8 The European Commission should review the Novel Food Regulations, particularly with a view to ensuring that the nutritional consequences of consuming novel foods are better assessed and to making approval procedures more efficient. 3.9 European Community rules on food fortification and on food supplements should be harmonised but in such a way that the interests of consumers are paramount. Agricultural policy. 3.10 The Common Agriculture Policy should be subject to a regular and systematic health impact assessment. 3.11 Given that there are subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy designed to increase consumption of surplus food, these should be directed towards promoting the consumption of foods for which there is strong evidence of a need for increased consumption in the EU for health reasons. Special issues: Fruit and vegetable consumption. 3.12 The promotion of increased fruit and vegetable consumption across the EU should be a key aspect of the European Union's proposed nutrition policy. Breast feeding. 3.13 The European Union should review its policy on breast feeding including assessing and, if necessary, improving its legislation on breast milk substitutes and maternity leave. Physical Activity. 3.14 The European Union should have a policy for promoting physical activity in Europe. This should be part of, or at least closely integrated with, the European Union's proposed nutritional policy. © 2001 Cambridge University Press.