Food systems for health: briefing note


WHO promotes the implementation of a set of revolutionary actions for food systems, which complement each other and focus on improving the nutritional quality of foods throughout the food supply chain and creating healthier food environments. Food systems today simply fail to provide healthy food for all. If food systems are transformed, they can become a powerful engine to end hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms. WHO is promoting this set of actions also in the context of the United Nations Summit on Food Systems, the Tokyo Summit on Nutrition for Growth 2021, as well as the adoption of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems. and nutrition.

The set of actions includes taxing unhealthy options and subsidizing healthy options, protecting children from harmful marketing of food and drink, ensuring clear and precise nutritional labels, reducing salt levels, of harmful sugars and fats in processed foods and beverages, fortification of staple foods by adding additional vitamins and minerals, ensuring that nutritious foods for healthier eating are served or sold in schools, hospitals and other public places, improving surveillance and response to foodborne illnesses, and assessing and strengthening national food control systems.

This briefing note describes for each of these actions what it is and why it is important, with reference to WHO guidelines. In addition, country case studies are presented and examples of SMART commitments for interested countries.

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