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EU moves to reduce sugar content in baby food

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Three cheers for the European Parliament – with MEPs recently vetoing draft rules that would have permitted baby foods to continue to contain up to three times more sugar than recommended by the World Health Organisation. Not only that – the MEPs are now pushing for the rules to change so that sugar content is reduced in baby food.

In an article recently published on the topic, MEP Keith Taylor, who drafted the objection said:

“Today’s vote is an important step in helping to ensure that EU rules on baby food are designed with their health as the utmost priority. The proposal by the EU Commission would have allowed baby foods to contain far higher levels of sugar than those recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The introduction of such high levels of sugar to foods – especially so early – would have contributed to the rising levels of childhood obesity and may affect the developing taste preferences of children. For infants and young children in particular, added sugar levels should be kept to a minimum.”

Here are some other points from the article:

  • MEPs consider that the Commission’s proposal is “contrary to all health advice from the WHO and from scientific committees in Member States who have recommended significant reductions in total sugar intake”.
  • The WHO recommends limiting intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake. But under the European Commission’s proposal, sugars could continue to provide up to 30% of the energy intake from baby foods (7.5g sugar/100kcal is equivalent to 30kcal from sugar in 100kcal energy).
  • MEPs also consider that, in line with the precautionary principle, emerging technologies such as GMOs and nanotechnologies, the long-term risks of which are not known, should be prohibited in these foods.
  • MEPs say that the labelling and marketing of processed baby foods should make it clear that these products are not appropriate for infants of less than 6 months of age, and should not undermine the 6-month exclusive breastfeeding recommendation.

Follow the link to read full article.

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