Our work in the field of nutrition has been multidimensional and reached its highest point during the 1990s by organizing consumer education activities around food-quality service, promotion of healthy food, especially promotion of Mediterranean diet, and the improvement of the respective legislation. After 2000, these activities gradually lessened due to the lack of resources. Today, these activities have been kept to a minimum and mainly involve participation in workgroups, consultations and interventions in national and communal competent authorities in order to improve legislation. Part of this work was:
- To boycott dairy industries which cost milk more than 1€/liter. The boycott occurred at June of 2008 in collaboration with the Pan-Hellenic Federation of Consumers and the full participation of their 18 members. Until now, this has been the most successful boycott in terms of publicity, consumer participation and resulted in the decrease of milk prices and the coming of various deals, whilst also the President of the Hellenic Republic called meeting in order to be updated around any consumer related issues.
- To organize numerous talks to students, parents, associations, conferences as well as to the members of EKPIZO around the issues of healthy diet, Mediterranean diet, nutrition and health, food additives, harmful substances found in food, genetically modified food etc.
- To conduct seminars for the members of EKPIZO on “How to pick the best”, for instance bread and pastries, olive oil, wine, organic products etc.
- To conduct various studies on projects, such as the eating habits of children, the school canteens, the temperature in the freezers of supermarkets, the control of possible aflatoxins in nuts as well as the control of genetically modified foods in the Greek markets.
- To write books and create leaflets on issues like, “The meat in our diet”, “Nutrition and cancer”, “Food additives”, “Genetically modified foods” and other issues regarding children nutrition, food frauds, harmful substances found in food, organic farming, olive oil etc.,
- Article circulation in the magazine of EKPIZO, newspapers and other periodicals.
- To organize events and press conferences in the event of current issues, food scandals and the results of tests and research conducted by EKPIZO.
- To participate in committees and workgroups such as the National Committee of Nutrition Policy, various technical committees of ELOT (Greek Standardization Organization), Control and Certification Boards of various private food certification bodies as well as the respective workgroups of the European (BEUC) and the International Organization (CI) of consumers.
- Interventions that aim to improve legislation, such as constant involvement in consultations of national and communal bills related to food, as well as sending letters to national and communal authorities.
- Food control laboratory was the most important activity of EKPIZO in the food sector, in terms of publicity, the negative reaction expressed by the competent authorities and producers as well as the improvements of the respective legislation. During 1992-1998, 9 laboratory food controls were enacted from all of the consumer organizations of the 15 Member States of the EEC funded by the European Commission. The main aim was to determine the safety and the quality of foods across European countries and further to compare them. During the food control, they run tests for the presence of germs in fresh fish and chicken, nitrates in vegetables, antibiotics and hormones in meat as well as the calories and the quality counted in fast food. Also, part of the tests was olive oil frauds and the characteristics of oil, the amount of water contained in ham etc.
The microbiological tests were conducted at the laboratory of EKPIZO and also at laboratories abroad. In our country, all the microbiological tests resulted that the conditions of hygiene are not met when preparing and handling food, thus leading to the adoption of measures in order to address this issue. One of these measures was to banish the storage and trading of fish in wooden boxes. Also, state control and tests were launched regarding nitrates in vegetables after the negative results found by the tests of EKPIZO.