The burden of NCDs in Ethiopia is increasing and of a very concerning tend and the trend. The contribution of unhealthy diet is particularly huge in the country where unhealthy diet practices are worrisome. Proven, cost-effective, and feasible actions exist to tackle unhealthy diet and several good practices are documented across the globe.
Despite its impacts, however, Ethiopia is not implementing the recommended critical interventions on an unhealthy diet. A Front-of-pack nutrition labeling system is the cornerstone for a comprehensive food policy as it helps the consumer make informed choices and as it is also basic to implement marketing, sale & supply.
What is FOPL?
It is the nutrition information (label) on packed food that helps consumers select a healthier food product and understand what is in the food they purchase or consume.
- The right of citizens to be informed about contents of their diets.
- Excess consumption of Sugar, salt, Saturated fat, and ultra-processed food has serious effect on health causing non-Communicable diseases (NCDs) such as Obesity, Cancer, Heart diseases, stroke and diabetes.
- These NCDs are major causes of premature death, disease and illness.
- Ethiopia loses more than 1.8% of the gross domestic product (GDP) because of NCD.
- FOPL is cost-effective policy to address these health issues.
- It is also an effective tool to help promote positive food environments and healthy food production.
FOPL in Ethiopian Context
- There are supportive policy environment/legal ground in the country such as Proclamation No. 1112/2019, National Food and Nutrition strategy and National Strategic Action plan for prevention and control of Non-Communicable Diseases.
- No specific Proclamation/regulation specific to FOPL.
- It is imperative to implement FOPL Regulation at the national level to meet the global Nutrition targets and ensure sustainable nutrition.
What can we do?
- Raise public awareness on healthy dietary behaviors and physical activities
- Engage in FOPL Policy designing, development and implementation.
- Support the MOH in Formulating and enforcing regulations that address unhealthy diet and FOPL.