At the end of March, the Administrative Court of Paris ruled that French interprofessional organisation Interfel would have to cease its school campaigns encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption, as such efforts are not regarded as being in the general public interest.
The Court stated that the “proposed animations were not clearly distanced from the interests of the sector”. As such, all public school interventions by Interfel’s network of dietitians have been suspended.
Laurent Grandin, vice president of Interfel, called the decision “staggering”.
“It is surprising that the promotion of fruit and vegetables consumption is considered to be exclusively for the benefit of the industry and not in the general interest,” he said, “even though all public health targets agree on the importance of increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables.”
Grandin said that the decision cast doubt on the educational support measures requested by Europe and the French public authorities for the school-based programme, "A fruit for break-time”.
In a statement, Interfel recalled that only 6 per cent of 2-17 year-olds currently meet the WHO target of consuming at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Interfel president Bruno Dupont asked how the organisation was supposed to contribute to improving public health if it was forbidden from utilising means that were proven to work, calling on French ministers to get on the same page.