28. maj 2010

The Keyhole symbol

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration’s Keyhole label can help consumers identify the healthier choices when buying food.

The keyhole is a food label that identifies healthier food products within a product group. Choosing foods with the keyhole symbol make it easier and less time consuming to find healthier products in food stores. Foods labelled with the keyhole symbol contain less fat, sugars and salt and more dietary fibre than food products of the same type not carrying the symbol.

The keyhole is a common Nordic label for healthier food products in Denmark, Norway and Sweden based on the Swedish Keyhole which was established in 1989.

The current keyhole system has a set of criteria for each of the 25 different product groups. In the process of becoming a common Nordic label, the countries revised the different criteria from the original Swedish Keyhole and added new product groups for sandwiches, pizza and wraps and oils. The Swedish National Food Administration has registered the keyhole as a trademark and the Nordic labelling system is enforced through common regulation in the three countries.

Which foods can be labelled with the keyhole symbol?
Prepacked foods eligible to carry the keyhole symbol must fulfil certain conditions specified by the authorities in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. An exception has been made for fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables and potatoes so they can be labelled with the keyhole even though they are not prepacked. The criteria regarding fat, sugar, salt and dietary fibre are based on the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations, which are founded on thorough scientific research.

Different conditions apply to different groups of foods. Choosing a food product with the keyhole symbol means that the product it is a healthier choice than corresponding products that are not qualified to carry the symbol. For example, cheese with the keyhole symbol contains less fat and salt than cheese not qualified for the keyhole. Products with the keyhole symbol have to be accompanied with nutritional facts.

Foods with the keyhole symbol
The keyhole is a voluntary label. Food producers are themselves responsible for ensuring that foods with the keyhole symbol conform to The Danish Veterinary and Food Administrations regulations on use of the keyhole. 

Foods that comply with the specified criteria can be labelled with the Keyhole. There are 25 categories within the following 9 product groups:

  • Dairy products
  • Low fat spread, margarine and oils
  • Meat and processed meat products
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Vegetarian products
  • Bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, flour and whole meal
  • Ready meals, pies, pizza, soups, sandwiches and wraps
  • Potatoes and vegetables
  • Fruits and berries