Health Ministry Director General, Moshe Bar Simon, on behalf of a special committee, today submitted to Health Minister Yaakov Litzman the committee’s recommendations for new regulations to promote healthy nutrition in Israel.
The recommendations include the requirement that all food products carry a green or red sticker indicating whether they are a healthy food or not and specifying the level of health risk associated with the ingredients.
In the first stage, which will begin next year, red stickers will be assigned to foods containing - in 100 grams – more than 800 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of sugar, or 6 grams of saturated fat.
Later on, the criteria will be tightened, and salty cheeses, kid’s cereals, sauces such as ketchup, snacks, sweets, and processed meat products will have to carry the red sticker.
The recommendations also include limitations on the advertising and marketing of harmful food, and the promotion of health education programs. Healthy eating would be promoted in state owned enterprises; small and medium size companies that produce healthy food would be supported; and incentives would be created to encourage research in producing healthy food.
Minister Litzman told a news conference, “I welcome the work of the recommendations committee, and I want to make it clear that we are determined to change the nutrition habits of Israel’s citizens. The first step is to raise public awareness of the dangers of unhealthy food and to subsequently encourage the consumption of healthy food.”
According to Litzman, the data indicate that Israel is among the worst in per capita sugar consumption and in child obesity rates. “The Health Ministry is determined to eliminate these phenomena, to protect public health, and to prevent disease. This is our main challenge now, and I am confident that the implementation of these recommendations in partnership with the food industry will bring about the desired change to the benefit of Israel’s citizens.”