The Health Ministry has asked all bread manufacturers and marketers to label their products with a mark to signify more nutritious and healthful bread – with more unrefined flour, few calories and less salt.
Baked goods – both packaged and unpackaged – that meet the standard would be entitled to display the Efsharibari (“Health is Possible”) icon as part of the Health and Education ministries’ effort to promote better nutrition and health. Bread, rolls and pitas will be included. The campaign will not require retail shops and supermarket to separate whole-grain, healthful breads from the rest on the shelves.
To meet the criteria of healthful breads, the product must be made of at least 80 percent whole grains and contain a maximum of 250 calories 400 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams.
The mark is being recommended by the ministries and not mandatory because, the Health Ministry said, it would take some time to produce legislation to make it binding. At present, it will appear on the product only in Hebrew, on both the front and back of the product. For unpackaged bread products, the symbol must appear in the proper place on the shelf, according to the ministry.
Public Health chief Prof. Itamar Grotto said the idea is to put the icon on packaged food to increase public awareness of the choice of food, encourage the manufacturers to produce such bread and increase competition and bring down the prices of such products.
Rami Hassman, director of strategic marketing of the Efsharibari program, said the icon will be prominent and easily identifiable. Material explaining how and where to place it on the product as well as signs for store shelves are produced in a kit for manufacturers and retailers.
While the Health Ministry says it will supervise to ensure that products that display the mark will meet the criteria, no fines are planned.
More information is available on the Health Ministry’s website at www.health.gov.il