Bakery, dairy items low in sodium, fat to be marked in capital – yahoo maktoob news

Weqaya logo will help residents choose bread and dairy low in fat and sodium

Residents will easily be able to find bakery and dairy items low in fat and sodium as these products will soon bear a trusted logo from the emirate of Abu Dhabi’s health sector regulator.

Healthy items within these two food groups that are produced locally will feature the Weqaya logo, which indicates that these are nutritious consumption choices, officials from the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (Haad)

announced in the capital on Wednesday.

“We are currently working with the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council (QCC) [the emirate’s quality regulator] to ensure that these products are adequately marked. If products on shelves meet our updated health standards, their packages will either be tagged or they will be sold in a dedicated healthy foods section at stores,” Dr Arwa Al Modwahi, senior officer for public health at the Haad, told Gulf News.

“We opted to first mark bakery and dairy produce as these are consumed by most people, and are therefore recommended by the World Health Organisation for labelling. By mid-2016, customers will be able to check for these marks before they make their purchases,” she added.

The official was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference held to reveal the upcoming extension of the Haad’s Weqaya Nutrition programme. Launched in 2013, the initiative first labelled healthy foods within restaurant menus.

“We now have 22 restaurants and catering companies that feature the Weqaya logo [a blue heart encircled by green with the word Weqaya inscribed within] next to healthy dishes. A number of these food producers also cater to public and private hospitals,” Dr Arwa said.

The Arabic word ‘weqaya’ means ‘protection’ and, to be marked healthy, dishes must each provide 750 calories or less. Less than 30 per cent of the calories must come from fat, while saturated fat must be less than 10 per cent. Meanwhile, 100 grams of the dish must contain less than two grams of trans-fats, 20 milligrams cholesterol, three grams sugar and 0.8 grams of salt. There must also be at least 100 grams of fruits, legumes and vegetables other than potatoes.

The official encouraged more food providers to register with the Weqaya programme.

“We urge restaurants to provide at least one health appetiser, main course and beverage, and include fresh fruits and vegetables. In this manner, those looking to eat healthy can find choices at every outlet they visit,” Dr Arwa said.

According to the Haad, 36.7 per cent of all deaths in the emirate occur from cardiovascular diseases that are linked to unhealthy lifestyles.

To that end, the Haad will also soon organise cooking competitions to encourage healthier food preparation, as well as launch mobile applications with recipes and health information.


Healthy menu items

Dishes marked with Weqaya logo are

750 calories or less

30% of calories or less come from fat

10% of calories or less from saturated fat

1% or less trans-fats

20 milligrams or less of cholesterol

3 grams or less of added sugar

0.8 grams or less from sodium

100 grams or more of fruits, legumes or vegetables other than potato

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