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Voluntary industry ‘code of practice’ aims to tackle obesity

08 Oct 2015

Minister Leo Varadkar

A voluntary code of practice for food marketing, promotion and sponsorship will be developed by a working group appointed by Health Minister Dr Leo Varadkar.

The group, chaired by Prof Alan Reilly, former chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, held its first meeting last week (September 30).

“All the stakeholders in this group agree on the need to take a collective role in tackling obesity. The food sector is hugely important to Ireland and the Irish economy. The standard and quality of our food is world famous. At the same time, we are only going to reverse the trend in obesity by encouraging more healthy eating by adults and children,” Minister Varadkar said.

The group will develop a code of practice for food advertising and marketing in non-broadcast media, outdoor media, print media and cinemas; for sponsorship by the food industry; and for beverage product placement in the retail sector.

It will also consider options for governance of the code and propose a system for monitoring complaints, verifying compliance as well as a mechanism for review. The group is due to report within one year.

“I think this group can develop a code which will encourage more people across the entire population to make healthy food choices. I’m pleased that by taking this step we have already acted on one of the recommendations to be included in the Obesity Policy and Action Plan, which will be finalised this year,” Minister Varadkar added.

The working group includes representatives from the Department of Health, the HSE, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, the Association of Advertisers in Ireland and the Institute of Advertisers in Ireland, among others.

By Niamh Mullen


Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times