The prevalence of sugar in EU citizens’ diet has considerably increased through the second half of the last century and up to now, a constant that has been having significant and partly detrimental effects on their health, leading SAFE to consider this a major public health issue, along with many scientists and experts. Indeed, sugar, which has been widely used by the agro-food industry for its sweetening proprieties, can today be found in a wide range of food products, from candies to pizzas, to prepared meals and multiple canned goods (tomato sauce, beans…). This ubiquity of sugar in processed food has contributed to make sugar over-consumption a common thing in the EU, which is why SAFE has launched its Sugar Project in February 2017.
SAFE’s Sugar Project is first being implemented in Belgium with the Campaign “Désucrez-vous! Du sucre oui, mais pas trop” (= “Unsugar yourself! Sugar of course, but not too much”), before being extended to other EU Member States. Furthermore, considering that the inflexion of deep-rooted dietary habits is a complex and multiform task, the Project is intended to be as comprehensive as possible; in this prospect, it includes attempts to a) inform consumers, b) encourage producers to reduce sugar amounts in their products, and c) improve EU regulation.
The different actions that constitute SAFE’s Sugar Project are the following:
- TRAIN CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS in Belgian schools to adopt healthier diets and avoid sugar overconsumption (with the kind support of the Ministry of Education, Federation Wallonia-Brussels). Learn more about the trainings here;
- PERSUADE AGRO-FOOD INDUSTRIES to lower sugar quantities in their products, by developing a label granted to those that do comply to them. Find out more about the SugarControl trademark here;
- IMPROVE THE FIC (FOOD INFORMATION TO CONSUMERS) REGULATION concerning sugar information on food packaging;
- DEVELOP A SMARTPHONE APPLICATION for consumers to inform on the amount of free sugars contained in food products;
- INCREASE CONSUMERS’ AWARENESS regarding the health risks linked to high sugar consumption through commercials and educational flyers.
Routdable at the European Parliament, “The excessive consumption of sugar: a health issue”, organised by SAFE and hosted by MEP Nessa Childers, 28th June 2017, Brussels – Belgium
MEP Nessa Childers, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
Floriana Cimmarusti, Secretary general of SAFE – Safe Food Advocacy Europe
Luminita Hayes, attaché to the World Health Organization representative to the EU
Alexandra Nikolakopoulou, Head of Unit E1: Food Information and Composition, Food Waste – European Commission
Nikolai Pushkarev, Policy Coordinator for Food, Drink and Agriculture, European Public Health Alliance
Sarantis Michalopoulos, Journalist at EurActiv