The Food and Drink Federation has urged public health minister Melanie Johnson to involve industry in the next stage of the 5-a-day scheme.

It has written to the minister requesting industry involvement from the start when looking at how to extend 5-a-day from fresh fruit and veg to composite foods: products containing added fat, salt or sugars.

A DoH working group has already had initial meetings during which tentative criteria for salt, sugar and fat have been identified.

“It is an important project but there is no industry involvement in the development of the criteria for what counts,” says FDF deputy director general Martin Paterson.“We are suggesting that industry should be involved at the beginning.”

A spokeswoman for the DoH said a small group of experts were considering the criteria, taking into account existing guidance for nutritional labelling and criteria already used at home and abroad. “The next step is research to see how these could be applied to products containing at least one portion of fruit and vegetables per serving.”

She added that proposals would then be discussed at a meeting of the larger What Counts Group, which includes members representing retailers and manufacturers.