Regulars to school and hospital canteens can expect great changes as the ordinance on institutional catering, which includes detailed regulation on the preparation and nutrition value of foods, as well as how they can be served, took effect on 1 January. The changes come shortly after it was announced that one-third of Hungarian adults are obese and another one-third are overweight, which makes the country the worst-performing country in Europe in tackling the unhealthy condition.
Under the ordinance, no carbonated beverages or drinks sweetened with sugar will be served and high-fat meat products will also be banned from school canteens. No salt and sugar shakers will be allowed on tables and kitchens are obliged to gradually decrease the daily salt intake.
No sugar will be provided to sweeten milk served as a beverage and only a specified amount of sugar will be allowed to be added to tea. Between meals, tap water or mineral water will be provided.
Sour cream and whipped cream will be allowed exclusively for the preparation of foods and not to be added after food has already been served. Daycare centres for the youngest children will be banned from serving deep-fryed dishes.
Further provisions limit the use of additives, high-fat meat products, pork and poultry fat and assure the diversity of meals provided by institutional canteens.
Canteens are now obliged to include the energy, fat, saturated fatty acids, protein, carbohydrate, sugar and salt value of all meals on their menus, as well as ingredients prone to cause allergy.
The ministerial ordinance extends to all bodies and institutions providing institutional caterings, such as educational facilities and social care facilities, as well as child welfare insitutions and inpatient care units.