Healthier foods on EU health ministers' agenda

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 18.4.2016 11.48
Press release 51/2016 Finland's stand on the collective EU logos on food packaging in the last chapter have been corrected on April 19th

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Juha Rehula will take part in an informal meeting between health ministers in Amsterdam on 17–18 April. This meeting will focus on topics such as how the EU can make it easier for consumers to make healthy choices by improving the quality of food.

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Juha Rehula will take part in an informal meeting between health ministers in Amsterdam on 17–18 April. This meeting will focus on topics such as how the EU can make it easier for consumers to make healthy choices by improving the quality of food.

The EU's ministers of health will also discuss antimicrobial resistance and innovative medicines. Bacteria resistant to antibiotics are one of the biggest public health risks in developed countries. Innovative medicines refer to new drug discoveries that have been found to be more successful than previous treatments. These new drugs are often extremely expensive, which limits their accessibility.

In connection with the meeting, Minister Rehula will meet Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis and Norway's Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie. The focus of the meeting will be new genome and cancer centres that are to be established in Finland.

EU wants to see improvement in its area's food quality

The EU has set an objective to improve the quality of foods by decreasing salt, saturated fats and added sugar-content. In Finland, similar work to promote health and reduce salt and saturated fats-content has had a proven effect on a drop in cardiovascular diseases for decades already. The "A Better Choice" label on foods is part of the Heart Symbol programme.

Improving the quality of food in the EU will help Finland achieve its national nutritional targets. This also supports the government's key project, which promotes health and wellbeing and aims to reduce inequality. Food products of better quality will help reduce nutrition-based inequality between different population groups.

Improving the quality and nutritional value of foods will require the cooperation of many fields and the entire food chain. However, Finland does not support the addition of collective EU logos on food packaging. Finland feels that the composition of food must be healthier in general, so that consumers could automatically get better products.

Further information

Senior Officer Pirjo Pietilä-Kainulainen tel. +358 2951 63259