JA Best-ReMaP News - March 2022

Joint Action Best-ReMaP is now in its second year. A lot has happened in the first 18 months of the project and now representatives from the three core work packages report on their team’s work and share the most important updates from the project.  

Work Package 5 – Processed Food Monitoring and Reformulation

Updates from Karine Vin, French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES)

Work Package 5 (WP5) is dedicated to the implementation of a monitoring tool in 19 European countries to follow the quality of the food offer. Until now, WP5 has identified 5 priority food groups on the basis of their contribution to the intake in sugar, fat, saturated fat and salt for the children, namely bread products, breakfast cereals, soft drinks, dairy products and delicatessen meat. Pre-existing data have been recodified following the nomenclature chosen for JA Best-ReMaP for voluntary countries and the evaluation of alternative sources of data (such as webscraping or crowdsourcing) is currently on-going.

A first data collection has been launched in 5 countries with no monitoring data (Croatia, Cyprus, Bosnia, Ireland, Poland) in July 2021. A second data collection for countries already having data has been launched in March 2022 in 6 countries (Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Romania) and will be launched in July 2022 in 8 complementary countries (Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia). Statistical indicators will be produced by the participating countries before the end of the project.

Read more here: https://bestremap.eu/monitoring/

Work Package 6 – Reducing the marketing of unhealthy foods to children

Updates from Margarida Bica, Ministry of Health, Portugal

After the first intensive year and a half of the Joint Action, Work Package 6 (WP6) has reached all of the envisaged milestones and deliverables of this period. An important result is that WP6 has established the EU Expert Group and is planning its first meeting. Furthermore, the participating Member States have established national intersectoral working groups that will address issues related to marketing restrictions in their national context. 

The update of the WHO Europe Nutrient Profile Model of 2015 has started and is underway, in collaboration with WHO Europe and participating partners testing the model in their national food branded databases.
Mapping of the laws and regulations in place has also been done in the JA Best-ReMaP partner countries and some members of the WHO European Action Network on Reducing Marketing Pressure on Children. The results are now being analyzed using a child rights-based approach.

Currently the focus is on developing the codes of practice on reducing marketing of unhealthy foods to children and on monitoring protocols, with a particular focus on digital marketing. On March 16, WP6 organized a workshop with partners to discuss the technical guidance for the development of the codes of practice and to present the best practices identified in this area.

Read more here: https://bestremap.eu/marketing/

Work Package 7 – Procurement of nutritious food in public institutions

Updates from Natalija Rozman, National Institute of Public Health, Slovenia (NIJZ)

In the last months Work Package 7 (WP7) and its partners have successfully reached their first milestone M7.1 Selection of the public institutions type(s). Seven Member States selected public institutions that procure food for further WP7 activities, especially for active participation in the testing of the demo version of the Catalogue of Foods and within that, inserting food products into the Catalogue.  Results show that majority of the involved Member States (5) have a centralized system of public food procurement, where procuring takes place through the municipality or a procurement officer. On the other hand, two Member States have decentralized systems of public food procurement, where procuring takes place individually through individual public institutions (e.g. a kindergarten/school/hospital etc.).

As a follow up and as part of Task 7.1.3 and second milestone M7.2, seven Member States organised inter-sectoral working group meetings in various ways, with some initially holding one-on-one meetings with individual sectors/stakeholders, others holding two larger meetings, and some partners holding only one meeting. As an outcome of the meetings and the presentation of the Slovenian good practice – the Catalogue of Foods -, key sectors and stakeholders in each Member State became increasingly aware of the benefits and possibilities of integrating the Catalogue of Foods into their food procurement processes. By involving the different responsible authorities in the process, each stakeholder can provide a unique insight into the potential of legislative solutions and enhance existing capacities to improve the food procurement process. In addition, Member States concluded that inclusion of state level institutions in charge of public food procurement and other interested parties /stakeholders in discussions with entity intersectoral groups is needed. By organising inter-sectoral meetings, Member States have succeeded in raising awareness about the importance of providing healthy food in public settings and in strengthening the competences of a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives of various ministries (e.g. Ministry of Health, Ministry of Development and Investments, Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management), procurement officers, directors of educational institutions, public health Institutes, etc. On the basis of these meetings, seven intersectoral working groups on public food procurement were established (in seven Member States).

The latest WP7 activities are focusing on organising a three-day workshop for participating Member States and its selected public institutions/municipality/procurement officers. The main aim of the knowledge building training workshop is to share and transfer knowledge regarding food procurement, especially about the Slovenian good practice, the Catalogue of Foods and its demo (pilot) version. On the basis of the workshop, Member States will learn how to use the demo Catalogue of Foods in order to be able to test its functionality in the execution of public tenders at a later stage.

In addition, together with WP7 partners, we have identified other potential good practices/mechanism/tools that simplify the process of public food procurement.

Read more here: https://bestremap.eu/procurement/

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