The aim is to reduce obesity and improve health in the area.
Amsterdam municipality wants more control over the types of eateries popping up in the city, according to RTL Nieuws, and they’re not alone, with Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and Ede in pursuit of the same aim. In Amsterdam alone, there are 470 fast-food chains, including KFC, McDonald’s, and Burger King. We also have Dutch fast-food chains, serving delicious, but pretty greasy and fatty food.
The way forward for these municipalities would be to secure an amendment to the Environment Act or the Commodities Act, enabling them to regulate the number of fast-food places opening up in the city. It’s not just in the Netherlands that there’s concern over the quality of food available either, particularly in cities. For example, in the UK planning permission can be refused by local councils to takeaways and fast-food outlets if the planning inspector or local residents have concerns over obesity in the area.
As it stands, the government has little power to change what is being sold or stop fast-food chains from popping up around the city. As Anniek de Ruijter, associate professor at the UvA explains – ‘because we see food as an individual choice, it is not possible for municipalities and governments to intervene via the Environment Act’.
However, Dr. Ruijter also adds: ‘ You can also turn the question around: to what extent is obesity still an individual responsibility? Research shows that the food supply in your area influences your food choice.’ Speaking to RTL News, The Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports said that they will be speaking to municipalities about the food available in our cities and neighbourhoods, and seeing whether changes can be made to make the food available healthier.