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Industry increases commitment in the promotion of healthy lifestyles

Date

06 May 2010

Sections

Agriculture & Food
Health & Consumers

Brussels, 6 May 2010 – CIAA, the Confederation of the food and drink industries of the EU, together with officials from the European Commission, Members of the EU Platform and members of the civil society, gathered on Tuesday, 4 May to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the EU Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health (DPAH), established by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG Sanco) (1) in 2006.

The occasion enabled food and drinks industries to bid their farewell to Robert Madelin, the former Director General of DG Sanco who had chaired the Platform since its launch, and to welcome the new Director General, Paola Testori Coggi. During the event, the CIAA joined the Commission in presenting the achievements of the EU Platform to date as well as offering some perspectives for the future.

To celebrate the success of the Platform, CIAA also used the opportunity to launch the Second Edition of its brochure on "Promoting balanced diets and healthy lifestyles– Europe’s food and drink industry in action”. The brochure presents an up-to-date snapshot of the key activities being rolled out by CIAA and its members to address the complex issue of obesity and lifestyle-related diseases in Europe set against the backdrop of EU Platform commitments.

“The food industry takes the complex issue of obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases very seriously” said CIAA President, Jesús Serafín Pérez. “Over the last five years, we have stepped up our efforts to provide both more product choice to our consumers and more nutritional information to consumers so that they can make better choices about the food and drink they consume. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to tackle the challenge of obesity and other chronic diseases. We need a range of actions, from all stakeholders working together, in order to achieve the type of systemic change necessary to have a positive impact on curbing obesity across Europe’’.

Given the ongoing review of the Platform, this second look at initiatives undertaken by the industry to promote healthier lifestyles is particularly timely. The brochure includes a representative cross-section of case studies demonstrating the progress made by industry in delivering on commitments pledged under the Platform in five key domains – ranging from responsible marketing, consumer information, product development and reformulation as well as other less traditional areas of activity from EU manufacturers, such as promoting physical activity and nutrition education.

CIAA represents one of the longest standing, largest EU Platform members, and its initiatives account for almost 40% of all commitments made.

The evening was also the occasion for both the outgoing and incoming Directors Generals to reflect upon the past five years of the Platform. During his speech, Robert Madelin declared: “What has made the Platform so special is political courage, the ability of everybody member to contribute to a vision and to say ‘the fight for healthier lifestyles is a complicated problem and we want to own part of the solution”. He continued by saying “It was courage at the beginning, responsiveness during the process and the ability to be self-critical. If CIAA and its members together with members of civil Society had not said ‘if the Commission wants to try it, we will try it’, the Platform would not have been such a success.”

Echoing his thoughts, Paola Testori Coggi also contributed, believing that “the Platform has really been a great adventure. I have to say that the CIAA and the Commission have put a lot of effort into it. With the Platform, stakeholders have learned to really work together. This partnership has enabled stakeholders with very different ways of thinking to work together.  With what we will learn through the evaluation process, this will help us to pave the way to a better working relationship with you all.”

(1) http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_determinants/life_style/nutrition/platform/platform_en.htm

-END-

For further information please contact:

Lisa McCooey, Director, Communications (CIAA), Tel: +32 2 514 11 11 (office), +32 476 911 300 (mobile), l.mccooey@ciaa.eu

CIAA represents the European food and drink industry – the largest manufacturing sector, major employer and exporter in the EU. CIAA’s mission is to help proactively develop an environment in which all European food and drink companies, whatever their size, can compete effectively for sustainable growth meeting the needs of the consumers and playing their part in delivering the targets set by the Lisbon declaration of the European Council. CIAA membership is made up of 26 national federations, 26 European sector associations and 20 major food and drink companies. For more information on CIAA and its activities, visit: www.ciaa.eu

Audrey O'Connor - Junior Communications Manager

Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the EU

Email: a.oconnor@ciaa.eu  ¦  http://www.ciaa.eu

Tel: +32 2 5081024  ¦  Fax: +32 2 5112905 ¦  Mobile: +32 473 573 159

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