HC Deb 25 February 2003 vol 400 cc511-2W
Chris Grayling

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money his Department has spent on public health programmes targeted at encouraging the consumption of fruit and vegetables in each of the past 10 years. [97104]

Ms Blears

In 2002–03 the Department of Health expects to have spent £783,000 on the Five-a-day programme to promote consumption of fruit and vegetables, including Five-a-day community initiatives and the National School Fruit Scheme. The New Opportunities Fund is also spending £52 million on those schemes: £42 million for National School Fruit Scheme and £10 million for community initiatives over the next two years.

In each of 2001–02 and 2000–01 the Department spent £1.25 million. There was no spending specifically to encourage consumption of fruit and vegetables before 1999.

In addition to the above, initiatives to increase fruit and vegetable consumption have been funded through health action zones, sure start, healthy living centres and through general funding allocations to health authorities and primary care trusts.

Dr. Gibson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice is given to the public on improving diet. [97322]

Ms Blears

The Government are committed to providing advice and information, based on a sound evidence base, which will help to achieve long-term improvements in the diet and nutrition of the United Kingdom population. It is for this reason that government advice, in general, is for people to consume a healthy and varied balanced diet.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Department of Health are engaged in a wide range of activities aimed at promoting the uptake of a healthy balanced diet as outlined in the FSA's Nutrition Action Plan and the NHS Plan.

Chris Grayling

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the fruit and vegetables that are(a) excluded and (b) included in the approved lists for the five a day campaign. [96884]

Ms Blears

The Five-a-day message is to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. Fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100 per cent. juice count.

100 per cent. juice only counts once per day even if more than one portion is consumed. Beans and other pulse vegetables only count once per day even is more than one portion is consumed. A portion of dried fruit counts, but other types of fruits and vegetables should be consumed to meet the rest of the five a day target.

Potatoes and other vegetables that are eaten as the main starchy 'staple', such as yam and cassava, do not count towards the five a day target. Starchy foods are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Nuts and seeds, coconut, marmalade and jam do not count towards five a day. Fruit drinks with added ingredients such as juice "drinks" and squashes do not count towards five a day.

The fruit and vegetables contained in processed foods, such as pasta sauces, soups, stews and puddings can contribute to five-a-day. However, processed foods containing fruit and vegetables which are also high in added fat, salt and/or sugars should only be eaten in moderation.

A Five-a-day logo has been developed as part of the communications programme, to help people recognise the Five-a-day message and introduce consistency in the message in all settings. In the first instance, the logo will only be able to be used to promote products without any added sugar, fat or salt. While the recommendation to eat more fruit and vegetables is an important one, this needs to be considered in the context of an overall balanced diet. We are giving further consideration to developing nutrition criteria for the use of the Five-aday logo on fruits and vegetable product with added ingredients.