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The food industry calls for political leadership to work for health

Sarah Yáñez-Richards

Montevideo October. (EFE) .- The International Alliance of Food and Beverage demanded political leadership for states to work with the industry in improving the health of consumers, said in Montevideo, in an interview with Efe, the secretary-general of this organization Rocco Renaldi.

Renaldi, who participated in the World Health Organization World Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases, stressed the idea that the food and beverage industry is fully willing to engage collaboratively in all actions that allow food production increasingly healthy.

Regarding the measures taken by the twelve large companies that make up IFBA (an acronym for the English name of the Alliance) to overcome noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), he highlighted the quality of food and beverages, the role of adequate diets, responsible advertising, clarity in information to consumers and healthy habits. But he insisted that the accentuation of political leadership and subsequent collaborations can decisively help to overcome NCDs and improve the healthy living conditions of citizens, something essential for the IFBA.

Since 2008, all the companies that make up this alliance have committed to “help” through “the production of products and their innovation,” said IFBA Secretary-General.

“Each company has been involved in product improvement,” with reformulations ranging from “reduction of sugar and saturated fat to the increase of beneficial nutrients, for example, whole grains, fiber, and so on,” Renaldi said.

Also, he noted that some products also take into account “portion size control,” as this allows the portion measurement to be used in the best possible way.

“As a group we have also committed, since 2016, to eliminate the use of artificial TRANS fats in all products by the end of 2018,” he added.

“For a long time, policies in NCDs,” he added, “such as obesity, have been carried out from the field of health, which constitutes to some extent isolation,” since in his opinion a transversal approach from governments is necessary. , from sectors and transversal approaches.

Renaldi, of Belgian nationality, explained that this objective has been in the “political declaration” of the United Nations since 2011, in the sense that it is necessary to “work” to make this idea a “reality” and that only “country can be made by country with the leadership of the institutions.”

The secretary-general also explained that IFBA signed a commitment to health in Mexico with the Ministry of Health, a letter that includes specific actions to help reduce overweight and obesity, as well as the diseases associated with these conditions. “What we want to do in Mexico is to create a national platform to implement these commitments in the Mexican context,” said the expert, who also clarified that in this case, they work alongside the government of the United States.

Regarding the diet, Renaldi stressed that it is one of the “most important factors” and that all products manufactured by IFBA member companies “can be part of a healthy diet,” although I highlight that one of today’s problems in days it is “hyperconsumption or unbalanced consumption.”

Other global commitments of the group aim to give “nutritional information to consumers through the label”, which is why there is “a global policy on the indications of all the nutrients that have to appear on the back of the product”, as well as of frontal labels that “that indicate, at least, the energy contribution of the food”, he added.

Renaldi also noted that the twelve IFBA member companies are “committed” to “a variety of programs” to promote healthy living. “We started with our employees to promote health in the workplace and also in the communities where we all live,” he added while noting that together with the companies that are part of IFBA “employ around 3.5 million of people internationally. ”

In response to the declaration of Montevideo in ENT, which will be adopted today, Rocco Renaldi said the alliance would reiterate its commitment to implement these policies in Latin America.”


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