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German food giants to cut sugar, salt and fat

December 19, 2018

The German Food and Agriculture Ministry has struck a deal with the food industry to make processed foods healthier. Sugar, salt and fat content in processed foods will be cut by 2025.

Image: picture-alliance/imageBroker

The German food industry has agreed to voluntarily reduce the amount of sugar, salt and fat in processed foods by 2025, Food and Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner said on Wednesday.

"The food industry has for the first time committed to and will let itself be subject to checks on the steps it is taking to reduce sugar, salt and fat in processed food," she told Bild newspaper. "That has never happened before."

Speaking in Berlin, Klöckner defended the program's focus on voluntary commitments from the food industry. 

"Everyone must deliver and everyone will deliver," the Christian Democrat said after the German Cabinet signed off on the plan. Klöckner said it would not only lead to healthier food, but to "positive competition" among the industry.

Read more: Fast and fattening: How frozen pizza is killing Germans 

The Grain, Mill and Starch Association, for example, intends to reduce the amount of sugar in children's cereal by at least 20 percent. The non-alcoholic beverage industry has committed to reducing sugar in soft drinks by 15 percent, while the dairy industry has promised to cut sugar by 10 percent in children's yogurts. 

Read more: Diet a top cause of illness and death globally, report says

Meanwhile, the German Frozen Foods Institute will cut salt content to not more than 1.25 grams of salt per 100 grams of pizza and the baking industry plans to cut salt levels in some breads.

In another boost to consumer health, saturated fatty acids in fried confectionary will also be reduced. To do this, among other things, the Food and Agriculture Ministry will research how products like donuts can be fried so that they absorb less fat.

cw/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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