International Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labels Webinar

The International Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labels Webinar 2018 was a huge success with impressive presentations, lively discussions between the audience of health professionals, consumers and our high-level speakers from various countries and sectors. This interaction offered an interdisciplinary insight into front of package labeling approach and its potential implementations.

In accordance to the context set by the Sustainable Development Goal’s, especially goal Nr.2 related to good nutrition, and Nr.3 to good health and wellbeing, it appeared that FoPl systems are crucial drivers in reaching these goals. All expert speakers, based on their experience and research with food labelling systems, provided valuable lessons and further reflections in bringing awareness and understanding to the consumer.

Over 200 people attended the webinars and over 14'000 people have been reached through livestream. On Twitter, we provided instant updates and engaged with our followers with the hashtags #InformeDiet #FoodLabelling #Webinar #GlobalCharter #FoPL and #WFPHA. If you missed the webinar or would like to watch it again, it is avaliable on our YouTube channel.

We would like to thank all speakers for their contribution: Michael Moore, Mike Rayner, Lorena Rodríguez Osiac, Mary L’Abbé, Chantal Julia, Cliona Ni Mhurchu, Rebecca Boustead and Marta Lomazzi (speakers presentations available clicking on the corresponding name). 

At the end of the webinars WFPHA released a Call to Action, supported by all webinar speakers, to encourage governments to take action and make the healthy food choice the easy choice. Additionally, WFPHA encourages support for strong, effective FoPL systems that play a role in improving population health through improved nutrition and a more open, effective, and readily understood system identifying the healthiness of packaged food.

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             Our Speakers getting ready for the start of the Webinar

 

Highlights from the event

The webinar opened with an introduction by the Chair and our Immediate Past President Michael Moore AM, calling for effective FoPL systems: clear, simple, interpretative and consistent with dietary guidelines. 
He expressed his hopes that concerns at WTO on mandatory food-labelling proposals will be overridden and that the dual role (consumer health and fair trade) of the food Codex by the FAO and the WTO will consider health the main priority.
He greatly encouraged governments and health professionals to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing in order to develop guiding principles that will enable effective food labeling and improve diets across the globe. He also came to highlight the importance of the Sustainable Development Goal’s and reading these in  conjunction with the Global Charter for the Public's Health.

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Objectives of the webinar and SDG's presented by Michael Moore                

 

The first hour included presentations by all expert speakers, providing insights into the implementation of food labelling schemes in different countries across the world. The second hour of the webinar was entirely devoted to an interactive discussion between audience and speakers.

 

Some quotes

“Changing from fact-based labelling to interpretive labelling helps reduce cognitive skills required to use nutrition information. FoPl systems are all about creating a shift from the responsibility lying on the consumer to creating a healthier environment for consumers.” - Mary L’Abbé, University of Toronto.

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“In Chile, there is a real problem with obesity, pushing the need to improve national food and nutrition policies. Our Ministry of Health has introduced mandatory nutrition labeling successfully since 2006, with more than 70% of compliance and 20% of product reformulation within the first six months.” - Lorena Rodriguez Osiac, University of Chile

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“The UK Traffic-Light Labelling is improving consumer nutritional understanding thanks to the color-coding using green, amber and red. However, it is too simple, it doesn’t give a good overall indication about the healthiness of a food.” - Mike Rayner, University of Oxford

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“Nutri-Score is a graded coloured label in France which provides an overall assessment of the food. Studies show that this scheme is the most efficient in terms of attitude and understanding. It ranges from a dark green A all the way to a dark orange E according to nutritional quality. Research had such a high importance in the selection process of Nutri-Score compared to other FoPl systems proposed by food industries. It is therefore an example of how research can inform policy making.” – Chantal Julia, Paris 13 University

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“In Australia and New Zealand, the Health Star Rating label is simple and well understood, it awards foods with 1 up to 5 stars, 5 being the most healthy. Since it is voluntary and only on selected products, consumers aren’t getting the full benefits.” – Cliona Ni Mhurchu, University of Auckland

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“There is a need to collaborate for consistent worldwide Front-of-Pack Labelling, and these can only be effective if people are educated on what they should eat in terms of healthy nutrients. The healthiest food if not bought, isn't healthy." - Rebecca Boustead, Kellogg’s Asia Pacific

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Some pictures from the discussion

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                          Rebecca Boustead                                                            Mary L’Abbé

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                           Michael Moore AM                                                          Julia Chantal

 

WFPHA calls to action 

At the end of the webinar Marta Lomazzi, Executive Manager of the WFPHA, announced the outcome of this webinar with the Call to action released on behalf of all expert speakers and WFPHA members, in total 5 million health professionals worldwide.

Food labelling systems can aid people adopt healthier diets by making easy and informed food choices. It can also have an impact on companies and lead to product reformulations to healthier versions.

WFPHA encourages government officials, health experts, food businesses, international organizations and consumers to adopt this approach. Therefore, our call for action aims to direct all actors to apply an approach based on the Global Charter for the Public's Health. Effective food labelling systems are essential to facilitate prevention, protection, and health promotion strategies to counter the adverse effects of unhealthy diets and reduce non-communicable diseases. Essential enablers involve the good governance, accurate information, capacity building, and effective advocacy.

Marta Lomazzi called on all health advocates to consider these services and functioning to achieve the following: increase the voice of the civil society, improve food environments, develop effective and accountable information to work with governments and lastly, support governments with tackling leadership in food labelling systems. Our target, she says, of improving the health of our populations should never be forgotten and always be a set priority.

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The webinar ended on a powerful statement by the Chair Michael Moore, reminding the importance of all the efforts from the public health sector:

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             Citation by John Hopkins Bloomberg, School of Public Health

 

Event

Unhealthy diets are a leading cause of death and disability globally. Worldwide obesity has almost tripled since 1975, and the majority of the world's population live in countries where being overweight and obesity kill more than being underweight. Unprecedented availability of pre-packaged foods - often high in salt, harmful fats, added sugars and energy - is a key driver of obesity and diet-related disease. Front-of-pack nutrition labels (FoPL) present simplified nutrition information on the main (front panel of pre-packaged foods to aid consumer understanding of the nutritional quality of products. There is promising evidence these kinds of labels can assist consumers to make healthier choices and also stimulate manufacturers to reformulate recipes, improving the healthiness of the food supply overall. FoPL are recommended by the World Health Organization as an evidence-based policy to promote healthier diets. While not a complete source of dietary advice, FoPL is recognised as a helpful tool to use in conjunction with complementary interventions such as food-based dietary guidelines aimed at improving the overall nutritional quality of diets. They are also aligned with several initiatives running at national and global levels to protect consumer health, prevent obesity and NCDs and promote health and wellbeing, as highlighted in the WFPHA Global Charter for the Public's Health. At least 16 diverse FoPL systems are operating in 23 countries and with another 14 schemes proposed. FoPL has been implemented in a variety of designs, providing information ranging from the content of single nutrients to the nutritional quality of products overall; providing positive and/or negative judgements (e.g. endorsement logos, nutrient-based warning lables); implemented under voluntary or mandatory arrangements; and led by a variety of government, industry and civil society actors.

       

Confirmed Speakers

 


Sponsorship

Disclaimer

The speakers for the Front of Pack Labelling (FoPL) Webinar, with the exception of the industry representative, have not received funding from nor been employed/contracted by any food company.

To achieve public health goals and to have the strongest possible impact at times require appropriate engagement with a wide range of actors. With this in mind the FoPL Webinar convenors selected a person from one company that has been engaged in implementing a voluntary FoPL system and also accepted financial support from that company.

However, this ought not to be construed as support by the World Federation of Public Health Associations or any of the other speakers for that company or of any specific product.

Sponsors and Supporters

Thank you to our sponsors!

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Gold Sponsor Profile

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