The Minister for Health and Social Services has confirmed plans for a new Food and Nutrition Strategy. This will be based on international evidence on effective approaches to improving nutrition, with the ultimate aims of preventing disease and improving healthy life expectancy.
The Minister, Deputy Anne Pryke, announced her plans in response to Proposition 81/2011, ‘Goods and Services Tax: exemption or zero rating for health foods’, which sought to establish a list of foods that could be considered as ‘healthy foods’.
Deputy Pryke outlined the findings of a comprehensive review undertaken by the Public Health Department in Jersey, which highlighted that developing such a list would be neither feasible nor desirable. The review and its findings have already been accepted and approved by Council of Ministers.
“I have considered the detail of the review and the conclusions clearly highlight that a ‘healthy foods’ list is not only impractical, but could serve to hamper efforts to encourage good nutrition and healthy eating,” explained Deputy Pryke as she gave details of a Report which will be presented to the States Assembly.
“In the better interests of Islanders’ health, our efforts are now being focused on the development of a new Food and Nutrition Strategy for Jersey, which will involve a multi-agency approach,” added Deputy Pryke.
Dr Susan Turnbull, Jersey’s Medical Officer of Health, said “It had been recognised at the outset that there would be considerable challenges in attempting to categorise all foods as either healthy or not. No definitive list exists anywhere else in the world.
“It became clear from reviewing all the evidence that this is because there is no realistic means of devising a practical ‘healthy foods’ list without increasing the risk of unintended negative health consequences.
“Any one element of a diet consumed to excess at the expense of other dietary needs can cause harm to health. It has to be a balance and range of foods that make up a good overall diet that will contribute positively to good health.”