The World Health Organisation has created new guidelines for governments in the fight against a growing chronic disease pandemic, which are likely to add to the pressure already being felt by European food makers.
The guidelines feature in a comprehensive survey,'Preventing Chronic Diseases: a vital investment', published today, which charts the rise of preventable deaths from heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes in nine countries.
It says that 80 per cent, or 36 million, deaths from heart disease, stroke, cancer and adult-onset diabetes could be prevented over the next 10 years.
In Europe, deaths from chronic diseases - already responsible for 86 per cent of all deaths - are set to rise by 7 per cent year on year in this region without prompt action.
The report calls for a series of measures to be introduced to reach the target of cutting deaths by an extra 2 per cent per year by 2015.
These include limiting the availability of high fat, high salt and high sugar foods, while other milestones are intended to encourage governments to implement food-labelling legislation and increase regulation of food marketing aimed at children.
However Joanna Scott, international corporate affairs director at the world's biggest food maker Kraft foods, said the recommendations "don't say anything new".
"They just confirm other reports that have been published in recent years," she told NutraIngredients.com.
"But clearly we recognise that we are part of the solution, so we are looking at reducing fat and sugar in our products and improving labelling," she added.
Last year member states of the United Nations adopted the WHO's strategy on diet and disease reduction, which emphasizes the need to limit intake of saturated fats and trans fatty acids, salt and sugars, and to increase consumption of fruit and vegetables and levels of physical activity.
While the strategy is not enforceable, the surrounding debate generated by this and other reports on rising obesity in the world continue to put pressure on the food industry to offer healthier foods.