The Ministry of Public Health in Thailand, on 31 August, launched the front-of-pack Healthier Choice logo labelling scheme, which helps consumers to identify healthier food options. Dr Tipvon Parinyasiri, Director, The Bureau of Food, Food and Drug Administration Thailand, and Professor Visith Chavasit from the Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, spoke with FIA about the significance and objectives of this programme.
Why is the launch of this labelling scheme significant?
The Healthier Choice symbol is a kind of nutrition labelling that we think is more efficient than the traditional one. The formal launching ceremony for the logo took place today. We think that all the companies that joined the programme can come together and show that their products are already available in the market, as well as inform the consumers that now, we have these kinds of products in the market.
It gives the choice to the consumer – the consumers can make their own decisions about nutrition based on their health.
What does FDA Thailand hope to achieve with this scheme?
You know, this is a choice – there are 3 key components of this scheme. The first is how the manufacturer can reformulate a product, to make it healthier. The second is that the logo serves as a tool for consumers to make decisions based on the labelling information. And the third, education.
Since we know that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have become an issue of health impact, this scheme will enable the government to align with food manufacturers, in order to reformulate food products, especially packaged foods. The simplified nutrition label will serve as marketing for the manufacturers, to promote healthier choices to consumers. The Healthier Choice logo depicts a nutrient profile that reduces the amount of salt, sugar and calorie intake by 25%. So we hope that it will have a positive impact on consumer health.
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