Özdemir promotes healthier food in schools and daycare centers

As of: April 11, 2024 5:21 p.m

The Bundestag discussed the government’s nutrition strategy for the first time. While Agriculture Minister Özdemir defended his draft, trade associations continued to criticize the lack of concrete measures.

The Federal Government wants children and young people to be able to eat a more balanced diet. In the future, daycare and school canteens in particular should offer less meat and sugary foods and more fruit and vegetables, according to the government’s nutrition strategy. This was discussed in the Bundestag for the first time today.

In addition, a ban on advertising for foods that are particularly high in sugar, fat and salt and the introduction of mandatory nutritional labeling (Nutri-Score) at EU level should be maintained.

According to the authors, the quality standards of the German Nutrition Society (DGE) are decisive for the “Good Food for Germany” strategy published in January. The time frame for implementation is set until 2050.

Criticism from the opposition and FDP

The opposition and also the coalition partner FDP, however, accuse the Green politician’s ministry of paternalism. The Union faction spoke of “green moralization”. According to the agricultural policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Albert Stegemann, the nutritional strategy aims to downgrade conventional agriculture compared to organic farming.

In addition, people are consciously being pushed into a meat-free diet – to the detriment of animal farming, said Stegemann. The agricultural policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Gero Clemens Hocker, also emphasized that food policy cannot avoid “consumer personal responsibility”.

Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir, however, warned of a “culture war over food”. A balanced diet must be possible for everyone in Germany. Özdemir sees the recommendations of the Citizens’ Nutrition Council, which, among other things, propose a free lunch for all children, as confirmation of the strategy.

Associations want more concrete measures

Environmental and consumer associations also renewed their criticism of the paper during the consultation. The consumer organization Foodwatch explained that the measures were worded too non-binding and vague. In addition, the federal government in Brussels must do more to promote the EU-wide Nutri-Score.

From the WWF’s point of view, there is still a need for clarification about the financing of communal catering. When it comes to daycare centers and schools, responsibility lies initially with the states. The environmental association is proposing a federal investment program with the states’ own contributions in order to be able to change the food supply in the canteens.

The Federal Association of Consumer Organizations (vzbv) also warned that the same standards as for retail food must be applied to communal catering. This applies especially with regard to the origin of food and animal husbandry. “The federal government must extend animal husbandry labeling to out-of-home catering and introduce binding origin labeling,” demanded vzbv board member Ramona Pop.

Scholz scored “Future Commission Agriculture”

Today the members of the government commission on the future of agriculture also exchanged ideas with Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The Commission plans to present an overall package of proposals shortly, as the committee announced after the meeting. In addition to the restructuring of animal husbandry, the focus should be on reducing bureaucracy, tax issues and future EU agricultural financing.

The commission, which was set up by the previous government, includes representatives from farmers and the food industry, nature conservationists and consumer advocates, trade and science.

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