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Nutrition Policies and Actions in Austria

Austrian Nutrition Action Plan and National Nutrition Commission

The Austrian Nutrition Action Plan was launched in 2011 and aims at the implementation of effective measures in a transparent and intergovernmental way to prevent over - , under - and malnutrition, to reverse the rising overweight and obesity rates by 2020 and to prevent diet related NCD ́s . Existing activities were combined to one strong strategy and a nationwide commitment.

The Action Plan is designed to establish and maintain a structured continuous dialogue and intersectoral cooperation. It is embedded in the Austrian Health Targets, part of the Austrian Prevention Strategy and is being updated on a regular basis advised by the National Nutrition Commission, which was established in 2011 as a multidisciplinary nutrition advisory board for the Minister of Health. All relevant players are involved in the development of the Austrian nutrition policy.

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Salt reduction policies

Austrian salt reduction initiative s started with a voluntary agreement between the Ministry of Health and the baker’s group within the Austrian chamber of commerce in 2011. Bread and pastries are th e main source of "hidden" salt intake in Austria. A salt reduction target of 15 % by 2015 in bread and common pastries was set. The reduction is being implemented on a continuous basis to maintain consumer’s acceptance. A midterm review in Februar 2013 showed a saving of 30 tons of salt within the first two years.

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Price policies (food taxation and subsidies)

All food in Austria is taxed with 10%, non alcoholic beverages (except water and dairy - based drinks) are taxed with 20%. Agricultural production is subsidized according to the EU common agricultural policy scheme which doesn’t take public health aspects into account yet. Subsidized school fruit and milk are available for primary schools, which have to apply for taking part i n the programmes. Coverage is unfortunately far from universal.

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School buffet

In 2011 the Ministry of Health launched a nationwide initiative financed by the federal health agency on healthy eating in school cafeterias. The initiative called "unser schulbuffet" is geared towards cafeteria owners. They get an on site counselling free of charge how to improve their food and drink basket based on a guideline published by the Ministry (Leitlinie Schulbuffet) while taking into account their individual environment aiming at sustainable improvements based on healthy nutrition recommendations and their economic viability. When meeting the standards cafeterias get certified by the Ministry of Health.

Overall, a total of 354 buffets took part in the initiative until the end of 2014. That accounts for around 25% of all such operations in Austria. 240 000 pupils were thus able to benefit from an improvement of the catering offered at schools. In order to be able to continue the Our School Buffet initiative, the Federal Ministry of Health has been looking for cooperation partners in the individual provinces so that the initiative can be continued on a regional basis and so that the financing in these provinces is ensured. The Ministry provides the concept, all of the necessary documents and the know-how. The cooperation partners assume responsibility for the mobile advisory services which are the centrepiece of the Our School Buffet initiative. The mobile coaches have been well-prepared for their tasks thanks to a training course.

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Marketing to children

A self regulation code of audiovisual media companies is in place dealing inter alia with marketing of food to children but clear criteria which products should not be advertised to kids are still missing. In addition everybody believing a special marketing activity or advertisement could harm children, takes them at a disadvantage, is misleading or is exploiting the inexperience of children can file a complaint with a special complaint body. The procedure is transparent. Each complaint and the outcome of the subsequent examination is available online (www.werberat.at).

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Trans Fat Regulation

Since September 2009 it is not allowed to produce or sell fats and oils with more than 2% trans fatty acids (TFA) or to put processed food on the Austrian market (including restaurants and common kitchens) that contain more than 2 % TFA in their fatty components. For processed food with a low and very low total fat content higher TFA maximum values were set to stimulate manufacturing of products with a low fat content.

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