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Food in the Spotlight

The project “Food in the Spotlight” (“Lebensmittel unter der Lupe”) supports consumers in making informed food choices.
In that regard the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) developed an online tool to allow the comparison of food products available in the Austrian market. Additionally, the data contribute to the “Nutrient Value Monitoring” carried out by the AGES to improve the nutritional situation in Austria.
The project “Food in the Spotlight” is supported by the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection (BMASGK) and by the health promotion program "Healthy eating from the start!".
To our online tool.

Background

Overnutrition and an unhealthy diet can lead to serious long-term consequences and contribute to the development of noncommunicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The high prevalence of overweight and obesity, especially in children, poses a serious problem, not only for Austria but in all of Europe.
According to the Austrian Nutrition Report 2017, 41 % of Austrian adults are overweight or obese. The Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) showed that in Austria about 30 % of eight-year-old boys are overweight or obese. Among girls of the same age between 21 % (western region) and 29 % (eastern region) were found to be overweight or obese.
The energy intakes of more than half of the studied adults exceed the reference values for energy intake (for low physical activity). In general, Austrians eat too fatty, too salty and too sweet. About 89 % of Austrian females and 81 % of Austrian males exceed current recommendations for the intake of “free sugars”. For children and adolescents, the intake of salt and sugar is also too high. A starting point to solve these problems is to help consumers in improving their food choice.

How "Food in the Spotlight" works

Due to the huge variety of products available, the food choice can sometimes be considerably difficult. The online tool “Food in the Spotlight” aids consumers in making their food choice as easy as possible.
Firstly, consumers can choose among groups of food products. For selected products, the contents of sugar, salt, fat and energy are displayed. Additional information such as filling quantity, age of suitability as provided by the manufacturer, added artificial sweeteners and general recommendations and advice for consumers are given. The data were collected following a standardized method developed for EU Joint Action on Nutrition and Physical Activity (JANPA).

Product information for the following food product groups is currently available:
Complementary food, food in a squeeze pouch, breakfast cereals, pizza, ketchup, sugo and pesto, cocoa, soup pearl croutons, dairy products and soft drinks.
Additional food product groups will be added to the online tool "Food in the Spotlight" in the near future.

For manufacturers

As the assortment of food products is subject to constant changes, manufacturers and trading organizations may transfer product information to the AGES within the scope of a voluntary agreement. Based on the information provided by the manufacturers, product information published in “Food in the Spotlight” will be updated regularly.


If you have any questions please contact us:

Alexandra Wolf-Spitzer
Head of Center for Nutrition & Prevention

AGES – Austrian Agency for Health & Food Safety
Data, Statistics and Risk Assessment
Center for Nutrition & Prevention
alexandra.wolf-spitzeragesat
lebensmittellupe@ages.at


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