Healthy foods threatens Russian goods.
As it became known “Kommersant”, the Ministry of health has prepared a new version of the strategy of formation of healthy lifestyle, keeping it split specific foods harmful or healthy. This angered the producers, who tried all 2017 proving the folly of their proposals. The current version of the document, the company called a hit list of measures that discriminate against Russian products.
The Ministry of health has prepared and sent to the economy Ministry and the Federal Antimonopoly service (FAS) revised draft strategy for formation of healthy lifestyle of the population, the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases for the period until 2025. The draft strategy (“b”) were provisions that the Ministry promised to remove from the document after consultation with market participants, told “Kommersant” a source at a large food manufacturer and the representative industry Association.
So, save the reference to certain categories of products (sweetened beverages, processed meat products), proposal to establish excise tax on sugary drinks and items with high salt content, as well as to divide them into harmful and healthy, transfer the interlocutors “Kommersant”. In addition, the document contains proposals for “voluntary promotion” changing the formula of products with the aim of “crowding out the market” commodities with excess saturated fat, salt and sugar, the ban of advertising of similar products and the introduction of recovery-oriented mode of nutrition labeling, which market participants also do not agree.
The Ministry of health expects that the revised draft strategy will be agreed already to 22 January.
According to one of interlocutors of “Kommersant”, the references to a particular product category should be excluded from the strategy as discriminatory and inconsistent with a systematic approach to the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. And recommendations for voluntary stimulation of the composition in fact means the violation of the principles of free competition, he said. According to sources, “b”, the current version of the draft strategy of the Ministry of health in fact negates all the work on harmonization of a document that market participants carried out throughout 2017.
The most critical issue is the separation of all the products with “harmful” and “useful” for some criteria that will only lead to unfair competition, says the President of the Union of manufacturers of soft drinks Maxim Novikov.
In moderation, any product can become part of a “balanced diet”, says the source “b” in the major manufacturer. So, used in strategy terminology, dairy products with a small amount of fat can be treated to healthy food, and more can fall into the category of harmful, adds the Executive Director of the National Union of milk producers Artem Belov.
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In addition, said Mr. Novikov, the proposed imposition of excise taxes on products with high sugar and salt have a negative impact on the competitiveness of the Russian manufacturers and companies of the countries participating in the EEU. “Such proposals of the Ministry of health only undermine the prestige and the export potential of Russian products. Manufacturers will have to place on the labels the information about the alleged “harmful” ingredients, it is obvious that consumers will make a choice in favor of products from other countries”, — said the head of National meat Association Sergey Yushin.
Particularly serious consequences threaten small and medium-sized enterprises will have to invest heavily in the restructuring of the work under the new rules, said Sergei Yushin. Such costs can reach several hundred million rubles, estimated by another source “b”. Overall, says Maxim Novikov, the approach of the Ministry of health to promote a healthy lifestyle is more like a hit list of measures whereas it is necessary to focus on promoting the concept of a balanced diet and active lifestyle. Decades it was believed that excessive consumption of dairy fats for example butter, not too healthy, and the last five years, the product will redeem, this suggests that the concept of a balanced diet reviewed, says Mr. Belov.