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Scotland’s largest health board meet National Healthcare Retail Standards

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The board is playing a key role in helping patients, staff and visitors lead healthier lifestyles by making it easier to access nutritious food in its hospital cafes and stores.

The country’s largest health board now complies, across all units, with national Healthcare Retail Standards (HRS) devised by Scotland’s chief medical officer.

As part of this standard, all retailers across the board’s premises have a number of strict criteria they must meet to secure a lease agreement. These include:

  • 50% of all food must meet nutritional criteria (low in sugar, fat and salt)
  • 70% of all drinks must meet nutritional criteria (sugar free or 0.5g/100g)
  • Food or drinks not meeting the nutritional criteria can’t be promoted
  • The composition of meal deals must meet nutritional criteria (no sugary drinks or snacks high in fat or salt included)
  • Promotions at tills and aisles are only allowed to foods and drinks meeting the nutritional criteria.

The Scottish Grocers Federation monitors compliance through assessments of each retailer as well as checking the nutritional value of all stock. In addition, many retailers display nutritional specifications for items on sale and these are colour coded to show nutritional values, making it easier for people to make informed choices. 

The range of products with improved nutritional values has increased in recent years and studies have identified the positive impact of having such products available at points of sale has on people’s healthy choices. 

NHSGGC’s own food retail policy ensured the board was already well positioned to offer healthy choices. The availability of sugary drinks and snacks high in fat, sugar and salt were already restricted. 

Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health, NHSGGC, said: “I’m delighted the board is now fully compliant with NHS Scotland’s national Healthcare Retails Standards as we have a pivotal responsibility to promote health across our population. 

“The board was one of the first to pilot the initiative and it has paved the way for others to observe and follow our success. I believe it is playing an important role in educating our residents about the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle. 

“By implementing HRS we can play a part in helping people make positive changes in lifestyle habits by embracing healthier foods. 

“As a board, we’re committed to the continuous improvement of the diet of our population. We have a wide range of health improvement initiatives and we’re seeing the benefit of these through more people accessing our smoking cessation and exercise services. This is another step in improving our population’s health.”

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