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Saturated Fat

Volume 164: debated on Thursday 21 December 1989

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all the measures he has taken to reduce saturated fat consumption in the United Kingdom diet; and if he will make a statement.

In response to the report by the Committee on Medical aspects of Food Policy in "Diet and Cardiovascular Disease", which recommended reductions in overall fat intake and intake of saturated fat, we made adjustments to the beef and sheep variable premium schemes to exclude the fatter animals from eligibility. In 1987 my Department introduced guidelines on nutrition labelling. These have encouraged manufacturers to give nutrition information on food labels including total fat and saturates declarations, thus enabling consumers to compare products more easily and to help them reduce their fat intake. We are currently pressing for a satisfactory Communitywide system for consumers in negotiations on proposed Community directives on nutrition labelling. As announced in July we shall be introducing regulations to control nutrition claims such as "low fat", "low in saturates" to ensure that consumers are not misled. Together with the Department of Health and the Health Education Authority, my officials are preparing a simple set of dietary guidelines to be published in the new year which will further help to educate consumers about the need for an overall balanced diet.