France reveals new recipe to tackle the nation's love of junk food

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France reveals new recipe to tackle the nation's love of junk food
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France will be home to 30 million obese and overweight people by 2030, according to a new report which is why French lawmakers have come up with a new plan to tackle the nation's secret love: junk food.


France is a country known for its fine dining, fresh produce and the slim waistlines of the locals, but the reality is quite different.

Half of French adults are overweight and one in six is obese and it's mostly to do with the fact the nation has been having a not-so-secret love affair with junk food for years.

The eating habits of the French are changing and not for the better. More burgers are now eaten in France than baguettes and only Americans eat more pizza and McDonald's Big Macs on average.

READ ALSO: The phenomenal figures that reveal France's appetite for fast food

But now the love affair is well and truly out in the open and French lawmakers have come up with a plan to the tackle expanding waistlines, which a new report says will lead to 30 million obese and overweight people by 2030 if nothing is done.

In short, they want new laws to limit the amount of salt, sugar, fat and additives added to processed foods, as well as educating children to eat a healthier diet.

Scroll down to learn vocab


Why in the land of haute cuisine, do the French have such an appetite for pizza?

Food producers who don't comply will be subject to fines.

"By 2030 it's estimated there will be at least 30 million obese and overweight people in France. This is a public health problem," said MP Michele Crouzet who was one of the lawmakers behind the report.

"It's not too late to stop us reaching that point and to save a healthy and sustainable diet."

One major problem is salt.

The French consume on average 10 to 12 grams of salt a day, well above the 5g daily limit recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Given the French love for bread - 30 percent of the advised daily intake of salt comes from bread in France - MP Crouzet wants to put a legal limit on the amount of salt bread contains with the cap set at 18 grams per kilo of flour. 

MPs also want to limit the number of additives used in ready meals to just 48, compared to the 338 which are currently authorized.

School canteens are also being targeted by MPs, who want to improve education around healthy eating from a young age.

They want to incorporate school lunches into the educational program aimed at promoting a "healthy and sustainable nutrition and fight against food waste".

Parents will be involved in setting school dinner menus.

Cooks who provide catering to retirement homes and hospitals will have to undergo training in the hope of improving the quality of food they serve up.

MPs recognise the fact that it's the worse off in France who are more susceptible to obesity and would like to see vouchers handed out to poorer families to allow them to buy more fruit and veg.

And they want the system of colour-coded nutritional food labels on processed foods that were rolled out in spring 2017 to become compulsory.

Under the system foods and drinks are ranked on a scale of A to E, with the colours ranging from dark green to red. 
If a product is labelled with a Green A then you can rest assured you've chosen the healthy alternative. 

But food manufacturers are not forced to include the labelling on packaging and many don't. As well as the Nutri-score logos MPs want to force producers to label the origin of the products as well as the number of additives they contain.

Five French words to learn

la malbouffe - junk food/unhealthy eating

reduire - to reduce/cut down on

les additifs - food additives

transformé - processed

les plats preparés - ready meals


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Anonymous 2018/09/26 20:50
Why have French supermarkets stopped selling white bread flour?<br />All you can buy now is ready to use mix with not enough yeast to make it rise properly and far too much salt in it, making it inedible as far as I'm concerned.<br />I am forced to ask British friends to bring me proper white bread flour back from the UK.<br />I don't want to do that. I want to support local businesses.

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