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EDITIONS
 Friday, 10 January, 2003, 11:16 GMT
'Portions' of fruit and veg defined
Fruit stall
Fresh fruit will get a government 'five-a-day' logo
The government has spelt out what constitutes a 'portion' of fruit or vegetables in an initiative to help people eat healthily.

Health experts recommend people eat five portions a day, but many do not know how big a portion is.

The Department of Health estimates a portion is around 80 grammes of fruit or veg.

Eating plenty of fruit and veg can cut the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

What constitutes a portion?
A medium apple or banana (80g)
A bowl of mixed salad (80g)
3 tablespoons of peas or carrots (80g)
Any amount of 100% fruit or vegetable juice (only once a day)
Any amount of beans or pulses (only once a day)
Any amount of green beans
Any amount of 100% concentrated puree
The Department of Health is also set to announce what products could apply to carry a 'trademark', guaranteeing they could be counted as one of the five portions.

Initially the trademark, due to be launched later this year, will appear on fresh, chilled, frozen canned and dried fruit and vegetable products which do not have any added sugar, salt or fat - ruling out products such as tins of baked beans.

However, how the trademark is applied to these so-called composite foods will be reviewed in the spring.

Poor diets

Public Health Minister Hazel Blears said: "The evidence shows that eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day has very real health benefits - it could help prevent up to 20% of deaths from our nation's biggest killers such as heart disease and some cancers.

"Yet most people aren't eating enough."

She added: "Part of the problem is confusion about what counts and what constitutes a portion.

"It is essential that consumers can get clear and consistent information, which is why we are developing the "five a day" logo and putting in place strict criteria, so that people know that they can trust it."

At the moment, less than one in seven people eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Organic carrots
Consumers will be told what constitutes a portion of fruit and veg
The National Diet and Nutrition Survey published last month found that, on average, people ate just three portions per day.

Consumption was particularly low in young men and women.

Around a third of men and women aged 19 to 24 years ate less than one portion per day.

Dr Wendy Doyle, a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, told BBC News Online: "There have been, over the last number of years - including from the BDA - a number of initiatives, to try to encourage people to have their five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

"I hope the logo helps people understand that it is not as difficult as they think to have their five portions."

Martin Paterson, deputy director general of the industry body the Food and Drink Federation said: "The industry welcomes any addition to the range of healthy lifestyle information already available to consumers from manufacturers, retailers and health professionals, to help them enjoy a healthy diet."

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  Food campaigner Jack Winkler
"This is a tiny initiative"
  Public Health Minister Hazel Blears
"We've got a whole range of policies"
See also:

03 Dec 02 | Health
27 May 02 | Health
18 Apr 02 | Health
06 Nov 01 | Health
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