Choices International, the global platform for collaboration with industry, independent scientists, NGOs and health authorities to foster healthier food choices, has today announced a reorganisation of its Board. Formed in 2007 as an industry initiative, it has been increasingly recognised in many countries as a key stakeholder in food policy thanks to this collaboration. Choices has now reached a new point in the programme’s development. A new board is formed, comprised of an independent president, representatives from the national logo organizations and a quality seat on behalf of the International Scientific Committee. This Board will be responsible for governance, strategic vision and mission for the organisation. Industry, which was previously represented on the Board, will now provide input through an Industry Support Group advising the Board on long-term strategy and implementation. A special Scientific Advisory Group will bring industry nutrition experts together to offer technical advice to the independent International Scientific Committee about the feasibility of the Choices criteria. Decisions related to these criteria remain the sole responsibility of the International Scientific Committee itself, which is composed of leading independent scientists. Finally, Regional Industry Support Groups will be formed to support clusters of national Choices related programs in specific regions.
Choices firmly believes in the integrity of scientific collaboration and believes that collaboration with the private sector and other partners should continue to be done with clear guidelines, funding rules, and full transparency of interests and conflicts. In this respect, the new Choices organization is a response to the call by WHO for clarity and responsibility in the interaction with the food industry on NCD prevention.
Clémence Ross, President of the Choices Board and former junior Minister of Health from The Netherlands, states: “The consensus on this step forward shows the determination of the Choices member companies to contribute to the credibility of our work. This step will facilitate further interaction with health authorities on global and national level, with the aim of a further promotion of healthy food choices”.