The Slovenia Times

Body formed to promote healthier diet

Health & MedicinePolitics
Asparagus, garlic, leek, lettuce and strawberries. Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

The Strategic Council on Nutrition, a new government advisory body that has stirred controversy before being fully appointed, held its maiden session on 10 January with members promising it will focus on raising awareness about healthy diet rather than coercion.

The body plans to craft long-term measures for better nutrition and act as coordinator of hitherto fragmented nutrition policy.

"The broad scope of opinions that we saw today shows that our efforts for healthy, sustainable and self-sufficient nutrition must be coordinated," said Prime Minister Robert Golob. "By bringing different sectors together we'll be able to create the best solutions."

The council caused before it held the first session after several media reported that the majority of its members were vegan, and that key sectors were not represented.

At the time of these reports several members had not been appointed yet, and now there are representatives of farmers as well as the medical profession and agricultural sciences.

In view of Golob's statements to the effect that people should eat less meat, critics also dismissed the council as a tool for forced veganism, a view that Golob now dismissed saying there would be no coercion, just awareness raising for better informed individual choices.

"As we'll show next time, we've already conducted a trial in the [government] mess hall across the street, where we've given people choice that had not existed before. Before we took office only meat set lunches were on the menu, non-meat sets did not exist. When you hear the results, you'll be surprised," Golob said.

The council's chair Nataša Fidler Mis, who holds a PhD in food technology and currently heads the department for nutrition at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, said nutrition guidelines must be modernised, whereby Nordic countries could serve as role models.

Ivan Eržen, medical director of the National Institute of Public Health and vice-chair of the council, said the body was a platform for all those who want to make efforts to reduce the harmful effects of food.

The 19-member council features NGOs, researchers and university professors, doctors, multiple senior government officials, and a farmer.


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