We all have the right to affordable and nutritious food. HEALA campaigns to ensure that all South Africans have access to healthy food.
Dear Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla & Deputy Minister, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo,
We need unhealthy food warning labels so we know which foods threaten our health
We put warning labels on cigarettes, but many food products can also be a threat to our health. That is why we need warning labels on packaged food.
Unhealthy food products, particularly those high in salt, sugar, and fat, pose a great risk to our health. Currently, we have no easy way to identify them. We need to know what harmful ingredients are in our foods so we can protect our families from developing life threatening diseases. That is why the proposed front of pack warning labels are so important. We call on you to put our health first and stand up to corporate bullies. We cannot afford any more delays to opening public comment. South Africans are demanding easy to read food front-of-package warning labels that will alert us to the dangers of unhealthy foods we are consuming.
HEALA’s mission is to create a platform for communities to organise and mobilise around policy and the realisation of the right to affordable, nutritious food.
HEALA is a coalition of civil society organisations that advocates for equitable access to affordable and nutritious food for all in South Africa.
Section 27(1)(b) of the South African Constitution guarantees all the right to sufficient food and commits the state to the progressive realisation of this right. Additionally, Section 28(1)(c) states that every child has the right to basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services.
Yet, today South Africa’s poor communities bear the brunt of the country’s unequal food system. Affordable, nutritious food is hard to come by. As a result, poor communities experience high levels of hunger as well as high levels of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, some of the country’s leading causes of death.
Because government policy forms a crucial part of South Africa’s food system, HEALA believes that hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition are policy choices.
That’s why we work with a range of civil society organisations to advocate for government to ensure the food system is better regulated and that policies meant to curb hunger are working for the communities that need them.
HEALA advances the right to food by advocating for more just food systems in South Africa through policy changes. HEALA’s campaigns focus on improving food regulation, hunger alleviation measures and industry accountability.
Our two main campaigns focus on pushing for the increase of the health promotion levy (“sugar tax”) to 20% to align with World Health Organisation guidelines and the introduction of front-of-package warning labels to help South Africans make more informed nutrition decisions.
We also campaign to hold big food producers accountable to the law, promote transparency and we want to create greater public awareness of the importance of nutrition in health. Finally, to address hunger we advocate for an increase of the Child Support Grant and the introduction of a Basic Income Grant.
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We are guided by our mission to improve the health of an increasingly obese South Africa through our campaigns. Empowering people to make healthy food and lifestyle choices is our priority.