UAE bans nasty foods: why can’t Australia?


Last week, the UAE ministry of education published a list of food items that are no longer allowed for sale in schools, including chocolate, soft drinks and fries. This ban, implemented across all seven emirates, follows a similar ban in Dubai school canteens in 2011. When you see the list of large companies who have agreed to support this policy, you wonder why this cannot happen in Australia and even around the ever-fattening world?

The banned items, most of which contain the very additives that food intolerant people avoid, are:

•    Hot dogs and processed meats
•    Instant noodles
•    Chocolate bars (with and without nuts)
•    Chocolate spreads
•    Sweets (including lollipops and jelly)
•    Peanut products
•    Potato and corn chips
•    Carbonated drinks including energy drinks, flavoured water, juice,  iced tea, slushies, and eskimo drinks
•    Cream cakes and doughnuts

Officials say the items are banned as they contain high levels of saturated fats, sodium, mono-sodium (meaning MSG), sugar, and artificial flavours, as seen in the case of processed meats and cream cakes. Products containing nuts are also banned to prevent cases of allergic reactions.

The ministry said that the measures were in line with the best international health practices. Adopting healthier diets will also protect them from malnutrition and contracting chronic illnesses such as obesity.

Nine food industry giants have pledged not to target children under 12 years and under with marketing. These are Ferrero, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Mars, Mondelez MEA, Nestle Middle East, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Unilever.