Riyadh / The Hague, 31 January 2019 – Stimulation of healthy diets has become an urgent matter, as the prevalence of food-related non-communicable diseases and obesity has been dramatically increasing over the last two decades. Therefore, the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) and the Choices International Foundation have agreed to cooperate to foster healthier food choices in the GCC region in cooperation with GSO Member States.
Both organisations agree on the importance of high-quality standards for healthy food that reflect current science and regulatory practice. Such standards are essential for implementing governmental health policies, for creating a level playing field for the food industry to develop and market healthier products and for enforcing consumer confidence in the quality of the food products they buy.
Consequently, the first objective for the collaboration is to establish customised voluntary standards for healthy food, that can be used by food & health authorities and food companies in the region.
As the need for reliable information about healthy food is rapidly increasing among health professionals and experts working for governments in the GCC area, CSO and Choices will closely work together to develop training, to share information and to invest in scientific research.
According to Mrs Clémence Ross, president of the Choices International Foundation, GSO is a front runner in international criteria setting: “The creation of one regional standard for healthy food is a unique and welcome initiative. It will facilitate international cooperation and international trade. I call upon more regions to follow this example.”
HE. Mr Saud Alkhusaibi, GSO Secretary-General, said “GSO has developed more than 1167 Gulf Standards and 529 Gulf Technical Regulations for Food Safety. Food standards give confidence to consumers in the safety, quality and authenticity of what they eat. By signing the letter of intent, GSO and Choices International Foundation will work jointly to increase and spread the culture of healthy food in the region.”
About the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO)
GSO is a standardisation organisation that is governed by the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Yemen. It has issued more than 24.000 of standards and technical regulations for use by its member states. The organisation is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
About the Choices International Foundation
The Choices International Foundation is a global private initiative to foster healthier food choices, to improve nutrition and to contribute to the prevention of non-communicable diseases. For that goal, Choices has established a set of science-based nutritional product criteria for benchmarking food products within each product category. On a national level, Choices offers instruments to develop, implement and monitor evidence-based interventions for healthy food choice.
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