17 December 2021: new online edition of NEVO

The new edition of the Dutch food composition database (NEVO) is online. The 2021 edition contains compositional data for over 2200 foods and more than 130 components (protein, carbohydrates, fat and fatty acids, vitamins and minerals). Moreover, the NEVO Online searchable website was completely renewed. Read the news New NEVO online 2021.

8 October 2020: Factsheet 'A closer look at front-of-pack nutrition labels' online

RIVM and the Netherlands Nutrition Centre (Voedingscentrum) have compared three existing European front-of-pack nutrition labels to the Dutch Wheel of Five guidelines. These labels are the Scandinavian Keyhole, the British Multiple Traffic Light and the French Nutri-Score. The factsheet was published in November 2019 in Dutch. See the factsheet.

Portie-online: Update of the Dutch portion size website Portie-online

A new edition of the Portie-online website was launched end of 2019, now including portion size information of all food groups. Several organisations collected information over many years which is now available in one database. In the following years the database will be updated and will include up-to-date information of new foods and portion sizes. The website is in Dutch and can be searched on food name, NEVO-food id or food group. For each food included, all available portion sizes are shown. For direct access to the searchable data use: https://portie-online.rivm.nl/

November 2019: New edition of Dutch food composition database NEVO online

A new edition of Dutch food composition database NEVO is online. The 2019 edition contains nutrient data for over 2150 food items. Values for 133 components (proteins, fats, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals) are available.  Compared to the previous version of NEVO-online (2016) more than 180 new food items were added. New foods were mainly selected based on data from the National Food Consumption Survey, which shows the foods most important for the Dutch food intake. A lot of foods previously in the NEVO database were updated. Foods no longer on the market, were removed from NEVO-online. Read more
More information and access to NEVO online is available on the NEVO-website

October 2019: Life cycle data on the environmental impact of food products available online

To map the environmental impact of Dutch food consumption, insight is needed into the environmental impact of various foodstuffs. Using life cycle analysis (LCA), RIVM mapped out the environmental impact of many food products consumed for a set of environmental indicators: greenhouse gas emissions, eutrophication of fresh and saltwater, acidification of the soil, land use and water consumption. Statline.rivm.nl contains tables with data on the life cycle from the cradle to the grave and from the cradle to distribution. These environmental data can be used for research in the field of sustainable eating patterns.

October 2019: Primary schoolchildren’s lunch in the Netherlands

Dutch primary schoolchildren mostly consume bread, dairy products and sugary drinks at lunchtime. There are differences between consuming lunch at school and at home. Dairy drinks are more popular at home and sugary drinks at school. For all children, there is room for improvement, for example, consuming more fruit and vegetables. The study used data from the Dutch Food Consumption Survey and was carried out by researchers from the VU University in collaboration with Wageningen University and RIVM. Read more

September 2019: article on development Dutch Wheel of Five

Cambridge Core Journal Public Health Nutrition has published an article by RIVM’s Centre for Nutrition, Prevention and Health Services, in which the development of the Dutch dietary guidelines is described. For example, different target groups, food preferences and the impact on health and sustainability have been taken into account. These guidelines were incorporated in the so-called Wheel of Five, consisting of five segments each containing food groups that contribute to health benefits or that provide essential nutrients.  The article 'Development of healthy and sustainable food-based dietary guidelines for the Netherlands' is available online.

17 September 2019: Dissertation Healthy and Sustainable Diets

On 17 September 2019, Sander Biesbroek obtained his PhD at Utrecht University on the thesis 'Healthy and Sustainable Diets: Finding co-benefits and trade-offs for the Netherlands'. Biesbroek investigated the relationship between diet-related environmental impact and health. Biesbroek was a PhD student at the RIVM Centre for Nutrition, Prevention and Care. 

Scenario analyses in which 35 grams of meat per day was replaced by vegetables, fruit or fish, among other things, were more environmentally friendly (up to 10% less greenhouse gas emissions) and healthier (up to 19% less risk of death). Better compliance with the Good Food Guidelines was also healthier and more sustainable. If meat prices were increased by 15% or 30% or the fruit and vegetable prices were reduced by 10%, this could result in several billion net benefits for 30 years.

The study used data from the EPIC-NL cohort study. 40,000 Dutch people from 1993-1997 were followed for 20 years. The environmental impact of diet was calculated using greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and land use, and health was measured according to Dutch dietary guidelines (RGV). Diet-related environmental impact was not associated with mortality risk. In 2015, participants ate relatively more fish and chicken, but similar amounts of red and processed meat. As a result, the diet became healthier, but not more environmentally friendly.

Health aspects have been central in current dietary guidelines. The study proposes several adjustments for the integration of environmental impact. That way, benefits can be achieved both for health and environmental impact. 

This dissertation was part of the SusHealthFoods project and was financed by the Strategic Programme RIVM ( SPR Strategic Programme RIVM (Strategic Programme RIVM )). 

July 2019: Article estimation of salt intake based on 24-hour urine collection

The sodium content in 24-hour urine collections is considered to be the gold standard for estimating salt intake. It is important to correct for differences from day-to-day. This can be done with repeated 24-hour urine collections in combination with a statistical correction for this variation. Groningen University Medical Center and RIVM have investigated whether a single 24-hour collection per person in combination with the day-to-day variation from another dataset is possible. In this way, the burden of repeated 24-hr urine collections can be reduced. The results show that borrowing day-to-day variation from another dataset is promising, however, a wrongly chosen variation can result in bias. It is preferred to estimate the day-to-day variation from repeated 24-hr collections from a sub-sample of the same dataset with further single collections. The article is available online

27 February 2019: WHO Europe and Riga Stradins University Workshop

The World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO Europe) and Riga Stradins University came together with the Nordic Council of Ministers in  a three-day workshop (February 27th-March 1, Riga, Latvia) with the aim of:
• Bringing together the project consortium to exchange existing knowledge and best practice
• Understand the priorities and needs of the Baltic Sea Region countries
• Perform a food systems mapping exercise to capture the range of actors and sectors that need to be involved.

RIVM's WHO CC Nutrition present at WHO meeting Riga 2019

All participants WHO meeting RIGA

The meeting started with setting the scene – why data, policy processes and stakeholder engagement are important to transform food systems.  Then healthy and sustainable diets to inform policy processes were defined, followed by a presentation on Future perspectives: 'Adapting dietary guidelines to the 21st century'  by Liesbeth Temme of the RIVM's WHO collaborating Centre of nutrition. The meeting continued with a situational analysis of the Baltic region context. Group work was carried out to understand the situation with regards to healthy and sustainable diets in participating countries. Groups discussed and exchanged views on what they consider to be (i) main needs, (ii) opportunities, and (iii) challenges in achieving sustainable food systems. They also identified the (iv) main stakeholders and (v) key trends and innovations influencing food systems.

18 January 2019:  24h Salt Survey training in Vilnius

RIVM's WHO Collaborating Centre for Nutrition expert Marieke Hendriksen was invited to join the 24h salt survey training in Vilnius, Lithuania. Around 30 participants from Lithuania, Georgia, Kosovo and Ukraine joined the meeting to learn more about setting up a 24h urine study to estimate salt and iodine intake in the population. Marieke Hendriksen presented the case study of the 24h collection in the Netherlands and discussed the challenges of such a study, together with prof. Franco Cappuccio of the WHO CC Nutrition of Warwick University. 

5-6 December 2018: Meeting Collaborating Centres of WHO European Region on NCDs 

In December 2018, WHO/Europe convened a two-day meeting of representatives from various Collaborating Centres and other academic institutions that focus on NCD risk factors and surveillance in Moskou. RIVM’s Collaborating Centre for Nutrition was present. 

The aim of the meeting was to launch a network of CCs and to tap into the potential for a new collaboration between them, with a commitment from WHO/Europe to continue knowledge exchange and to facilitate joint working in the future. 

The results of the two-day discussion: an overview of WHO/Europe’s priorities in NCD risk factors and surveillance, proposed research projects identified by CC discussion groups, and next steps can be found in this report

11-12 October 2018:  Expert Consultation on Trans-Fatty Acid Assessment

WHO HQ, Geneva, Switzerland. Eliminating trans-fat (TFA) is a key to protecting health and saving lives: globally more than 500,000 deaths were attributed to the increased intake of TFA. Elimination of industrially-produced TFA (IP-TFA) from the global food supply has been identified as one of the priority targets of WHO in 2019 – 2023. Industrially-produced TFA are contained in partially hardened vegetable fats and are often present in margarine, snack foods, baked foods, and fried foods. Healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect the taste or cost of food.

In May 2018, WHO released the REPLACE action package, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced TFA from the global food supply. Assessment and monitoring of TFA content in the food supply and of changes in TFA consumption in the population are one of the steps in the REPLACE action package. Susanne Westenbrink (RIVM) was invited to the Expert Consultation on Trans Fatty Acid Assessment, organized by WHO in October 2018. The expert consultation aimed to develop:

1. Laboratory protocols for measuring TFA exposure in humans and TFA content in food

2. Surveillance tools for countries to use in monitoring TFA intake in the population and TFA content in the food supply. 

From the literature and discussions, it is clear that TFA levels in food and TFA intake in populations varies worldwide, with low levels in many Western countries and still very high levels in many other countries. It was advocated first to focus on reducing IP-TFA levels in high-fat foods produced by the food industry, although low-fat foods eaten in large quantities should also be taken into account. Ruminant dairy and meat products contain some naturally present TFA, however, these are not subject to the goal of reducing TFA intake. Analytical methods and sampling protocols were discussed in detail and will be included in the amended WHO guidelines for surveillance approaches for measuring TFA exposure in humans and TFA content in food. 

12 -13 September 2018: 10th meeting WHO Action Network on Salt reduction in ESAN

Rome, Italy. The WHO aims to reduce salt intake by 30% between 2010 and 2025, and has established a network to facilitate this. The WHO Action Network on Salt Reduction in the Population in the European Region (ESAN) was established in 2007 and held its 10th meeting in Rome in September 2018.  The aim of this meeting was to exchange experiences in salt reduction strategies across the WHO European Region and to share scientific know-how on several aspects of salt reduction. RIVM's WHO Collaborating Centre for Nutrition was invited to participate by sharing the Dutch experience in salt reduction and to organise a workshop on the approaches to monitor the composition of the food supply. Ivon Milder and Marieke Hendriksen of RIVM participated in this meeting.