Alongside the food safety work, The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) emphasizes making healthy choices easy for the population through partnerships, nutrition labels such as The Keyhole Label and Whole Grain logo as well as target group specific recommendations.
The DVFA advises and issues recommendations to consumers and enterprises about nutrition, healthy eating and food production. Lifestyle diseases and overweight challenges the Western world. To help the population to a healthier life, the DVFA advises everybody to eat by the current dietary recommendations. New dietary recommendations were launched in September 2013. The dietary recommendations build on the scientifically based Nordic Nutrition Recommendations, and are fully financed by the Danish government.
The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration’s Keyhole label can help consumers identify the healthier choices when buying food.
The Keyhole is a food label that identifies healthier food products within a product group. Choosing foods with the keyhole symbol make it easier and less time consuming to find healthier products in food stores. Foods labelled with the Keyhole symbol contain less fat, sugars and salt and more dietary fibre than food products of the same type not carrying the symbol.
The Keyhole is a common Nordic label for healthier food products in Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden based on the Swedish Keyhole which was established in 1989.
The current Keyhole system has a set of criteria for each of the 33 different product groups. In the process of becoming a common Nordic label, the countries revised the different criteria from the original Swedish Keyhole and added new product groups for sandwiches, pizza and wraps and oils. The Swedish National Food Administration has registered the keyhole as a trademark and the Nordic labelling system is enforced through common regulation in the three countries.
Which foods can be labelled with the Keyhole symbol?
Prepacked foods eligible to carry the Keyhole symbol must fulfil certain conditions specified by the authorities in Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. An exception has been made for fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables and potatoes, bread, cheese and unprocessed meat so they can be labelled with the Keyhole even though they are not prepacked. The criteria regarding fat, sugar, salt and dietary fibre are based on the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations, which are founded on thorough scientific research.
Different conditions apply to different groups of foods.
Choosing a food product with the keyhole symbol means that the product it is a healthier choice than corresponding products that are not qualified to carry the symbol. For example, cheese with the keyhole symbol contains less fat and salt than cheese not qualified for the keyhole. Products with the keyhole symbol have to be accompanied with nutritional facts.
Foods with the Keyhole symbol
The Keyhole is a voluntary label. Food producers are themselves responsible for ensuring that foods with the keyhole symbol conform to The Danish Veterinary and Food Administrations regulations on use of the keyhole.
Foods that comply with the specified criteria can be labelled with the Keyhole. There are 33 categories within the following 11 product groups:
- Dressings and sauces
- Fish and shellfish
- Ready meals
- Porridge, bread and pasta
- Vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts
- Meat and processed meat products
- Dietary fat and oils
- Flour, meal and rice
- Milk and fermented products
- Vegetable products
The aim is to create target-oriented and effective interventions to ensure that Danes consume more whole grain. The focus is to make whole grain products easily available through a recognizable logo. The partnership has been very successful and has increased the consumption of whole grain substantially – on average from 36 to 63 grams per day in the time period 2004-2013. The DVFA is vice-chairman, and the partnership covers 37 member organizations.
The Danish Meal Partnership is a partnership with the purpose of making it convenient and desirable for all citizens in Denmark to eat healthier meals. The partnership has a special focus on improving social equality in food consumption patterns. The DVFA holds the chair, and at present 16 member organizations participate.
The objective of the Salt Partnership is to reduce the intake of salt among consumers in Denmark. The partnership seeks to raise awareness of the link between salt and health to consumers and food professionals in canteens etc., and also promoting food with the Keyhole Label. Furthermore, collaboration with the food industry aims at reducing the salt content in processed food across the board. The DVFA holds the chair, and 16 member organizations participate.