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Newly revised Choices criteria for healthier food presented to WHO

Geneva – On 26 April 2019 Choices International presented its new and fully revised criteria for healthier food choices to Dr Francesco Branca, World Health Organization (WHO).

The criteria of the Choices International Foundation define the healthiest products in every product group by setting maximum values for saturated fat, sugar, sodium, trans fatty acids and energy and minimum values for dietary fibre. They have been developed in response to the WHO call to contribute to the prevention of non-communicable diseases and obesity and serve as a tool for health policies and front-of-pack labelling in many countries. The criteria are evaluated and revised every four years by the International Scientific Committee consisting of leading independent scientists, to keep pace with developments in nutrition science, consumer habits and product development.

Prof. Lauren Lissner, chair of this International Scientific Committee, and Mrs Clémence Ross, president of the Board of the Choices International Foundation, presented the new Choices criteria to Dr Francesco Branca, director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development of WHO Global. “The criteria revision took place according to a published scientific methodology and in full independence by the six members of our Committee, representing all regions of the world”, prof. Lissner said. “This is the only way that we can gain the credibility that is necessary to make an impact.”

Clémence Ross added: “The Choices Board gladly accepts these revised criteria as the new and updated guidance for our work in collaboration with many countries and companies.”

Francesco Branca thanked the Choices International Foundation for their work and indicated that WHO will analyze carefully the new criteria and their alignment with the WHO nutrient profiling models. “Unhealthy diets are the top risk factor for the global burden of disease. We need fundamental changes in the way food is produced, distributed and marketed. Governments need to lead the way, with the support of scientists, industry and NGO’s”, he said.

The new criteria are available to download on the Choices Programme website: https://www.choicesprogramme.org/what-we-do/product-criteria/

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