Food & Beverage Guidelines to take effect by year-end

 22 May 2017 - 0:53

By Fazeena Saleem / The Peninsula

The food and beverages guidelines, recently issued by the Ministry of Public Health for healthcare facilities, will be introduced at cafeterias, restaurants and vending machines of private and public clinics and hospitals in the country by end of this year, says a senior official.
The implementation of ‘Food and Beverage Guidelines for Healthcare Facilities’ will begin by end of 2017, says Sheikha Dr Al Anoud bint Mohammed Al Thani, Director of Health Promotion and Non-Communicable Diseases at the Ministry.
“The implementation has started, the tender call for cafeterias at healthcare facilities is under process. Some hospitals will start implementing it in end of 2017 and others by the first quarter of 2018,” she said speaking on the sidelines of an event held recently at the Ministry to promote healthy eating habits.
According to Sheikha Al Anoud, Al Ahli Hospital has introduced the guidelines in the vending machines and they will be at cafeteria by August this year. ‘Food and Beverage Guidelines for Healthcare Facilities’ launched in March this year recommend healthcare facilities avoid selling food and beverages with high calories such as chips, chocolates and soft drinks in vending machines and limit their sale at cafeterias to 20 percent.
It also encourages healthcare facilities to include 50 percent healthy food and drinks among the items sold at cafeterias and display them prominently. The guidelines have classified food and drink into three categories according to nutritional value. And it requires cafeterias and vending machines at healthcare facilities to label food and beverages in green, yellow and red labels.
The traffic signal like tri-colour labels will help people easily identify the most healthy, moderate and unhealthy items.
According to the guidelines, food and drinks with good source of nutrition are classified as ‘Sell most - Green category.’ The ‘Sell sometimes- Yellow category’ includes processed food that have some sugar, salt and fat added. Soft drinks, snacks like crisps with high level of sodium and fats and chocolates are categorised as ‘Sell in limited amounts- Red category.’