Oils and Fats

 

THE HEART MARK

The Heart Mark is an emblem, program and an incentive that allows consumers to quickly identify healthier and heart safe foods on the market and when dining out.  This Mark is administered by the Heart Foundation Of Zimbabwe and operates independently.

The aim is to encourage appropriate options that  are lower in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, salt, sugar and where applicable, higher in dietary fibre, calcium and percentage key ingredients of fruits, vegetables and seafood. This encouragement makes the products that have the Heart Mark on them a healthier choice.

 

Categories of Heart Mark Products

 

Heart  Mark products can be found in each of the food groups and include:

GRAIN PRODUCTS (bread, cereal, rice, pasta etc)

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES (Canned, Processed, Bottled)

MEATS AND ALTENATIVES (Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Beef >>)

LEGUMES, NUTS AND SEEDS

VEGETARIAN PRODUCTS

MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS

FATS, OILS and RELATED PRODUCTS

 

The Heart  Mark on a product means that

The product has been independently tested and proven to meet the Mark’s  strict nutrition criteria; is a healthier choice within its food category and is part of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle intake.

 

 

 

 

BENEFITS OF THE HEART MARK

 

The Heart Mark adds significant value to the  product’s marketing effort.

It enables consumers to easily identify the healthier alternative.

It  promotes cardiovascular health and awareness as well as assist in reducing cardiovascular disease —blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and other related diseases.

Automatic Partnership with the Heart Foundation of Zimbabwe, an independent reputable  non-governmental organization.

To qualify, restaurants, take-aways and related food outlets must offer the following:

Various options of healthier foods and at least 20% or more of the menu must be heart healthy.

Relaxed smoke free atmosphere, Freshest ingredient, Minimally refined and processed foods, Lean cut meats with no visible fat, Skinless chicken (where applicable)

Dressing served on the side as many contain oil, butter and creams. Opt for energy reduced salad dressings, Roasted, grilled, poached, baked or steamed  foods tend to be much healthier than those that are deep fried

Food prepared with limited amount of vegetable oil (high in poly or mono unsaturated fat), Generous portions of vegetables and fresh fruits

Whole grain pastas and breads, Offer more multiple sources of Omega 3, Include soy and legumes, Serve high calcium foods like dark leafy greens (salads)

Low salt or opt for herbs and spices rather than salt to flavour food. Lemon juice is an interesting alternative to salt.

Heart  Mark Advocacy

Less 'bad' fats
Unhealthy fats include saturated fats and trans fats. These fats can increase LDL cholesterol in our blood that leads to the build up of plaque, a fatty material that forms on the inner wall of blood vessels. Eating a balanced diet which includes less saturated fat and trans fat will help reduce your cholesterol levels. The Mark standards limit saturated fat and trans fat in many foods.

Less salt
As a population, we consume nearly twice as much salt as we should. While salt contains sodium, an essential   mineral our body needs, too much sodium is unhealthy and can contribute to high blood pressure (hypertension). The Mark standard for sodium limits salt levels in a wide range of foods such as breads, breakfast cereals, spreads and processed foods.

Less energy
Fat and sugar add energy to food, and it can take us longer to burn off (metabolise) high energy foods. The Mark standard for energy (measured as kilojoules) limits levels of energy dense nutrients such as fat and sugar

More fibre
Dietary fibre is essential for good health and is naturally found in cereals, grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables. Many Marked foods, such as breads and breakfast cereals must have minimum levels of fibre.

More calcium
Dairy products are our main source of calcium, an        essential nutrient for bone development and maintenance.

 

 

HEART MARK INTEGRITY

 

The integrity of the Mark trademark is managed through a robust approval process involving category-specific nutritional analysis, on-going review of the Mark ‘s packaging and promotions, and random testing.

Below is an outline of the Mark Approvals process:

Step 1— Contact us, tell us which of your products you are interested in applying for the Mark.

Step 2— Lab testing is required for products applying for the Mark. This takes between 10 to 15days

Step 3— The Heart Mark logo shall be on the label of the     approved item, and readable; and on a visible place in an approved food outlet. The Foundation reserves the right to remove the logo at any point should there be a non-compliance of the rules laid down.

Random Testing 

To ensure we are doing as much as we can to  maintain the integrity of the Heart Mark - all Marked products are subject to ongoing random testing to ensure continued compliance to the nutrition criteria and Mark marketing guidelines for packaging and promotions. 

We also test for aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring toxin that can contaminate a variety of common crops including cereals (such as maize and wheat), oil seeds (including peanuts), spices and tree nuts. It is also found in the milk of animals given contaminated feed. This toxic substance can contaminate crops before harvest and during storage. Crops with prolonged exposure to a hot, humid environment or that are damaged due to stressful growing conditions such as drought are more susceptible to aflatoxin contamination.
Aflatoxin can cause a number of liver problems including liver cancer and aflatoxicosis is influenced by age, sex, nutritional status, and health as well as both the level and duration of exposure to the toxin. Safe levels of aflatoxin for  human food is  20 parts per billion.  Both peanuts and products made from them are tested regularly.
Interestingly, some research shows that eating regular diet that includes apiaceous vegetables such as carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley (and a number of herbs and spices) can decrease the carcinogenic effects of aflatoxin. In general, keeping nuts, nut butters, seeds, and grains that you don’t use quickly in the refrigerator or freezer may be a good practice to prevent the hot, moist environments that favour aflatoxin growth. Other advice includes: avoid eating nuts that look moldy, discoloured or shriveled – perhaps an obvious choice for most of us. The recommendation to choose only major brands of peanut butter is vital.

Heart Mark License Fees

The Heart Mark carries a fee which covers ongoing research and development of the Mark ‘s nutrition standards, random testing to ensure ongoing compliance, marketing and communications to promote  healthier food choices and for the general administration of the Mark.

THE FOOD PYRAMID