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Health Minister Launches New Food Labelling Scheme

The new scheme, introduced by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), uses colour-coded red, amber and green front-of-pack labelling to show how much fat, saturated fat, salt, sugars and energy are in food products. Speaking ahead of the launch of the scheme in Parliament Buildings, the Minister welcomed the new scheme from the FSA. He said that we face many public health issues associated with the food we eat.

He said: “One of the most significant public health issues facing us is the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity. About six out of every 10 adults in Northern Ireland are either overweight or obese. And almost one in every 10 children aged between two and 15 years are obese.

“Another important aspect of our diet is the amount of salt we consume. For example, cutting our average salt intake by 1.6 grams a day would prevent over 10,000 premature deaths a year in the UK.”

The Minister said getting the correct information will help everyone make the right choices about their diet. He added: “The new labelling scheme will allow consumers to see at a glance how much fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars, and energy are actually contained in the food we eat. The introduction of a consistent nutrition label on the front of retail packs in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK is a vital step in encouraging healthier lifestyle choices.”

The new, universal front of pack label will be recommended best practice across the whole of the UK. In Northern Ireland food manufacturers Mash Direct and Moy Park have agreed to introduce the scheme.

Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride said: “Providing consistent and accurate information enables individuals to take more control over their food choices. This can then do much to improve good health and wellbeing.

“Modern dietary habits, more snacking and dependence on processed and prepared foods means it is even more vital that people are informed about the impacts of their food choices. We must encourage people to choose to eat healthier food and to participate more in physical activity, but it should be an individual’s choice to do so.”

Source: HortiTrends News Room