19/06/2013

Health Minister Launches New Food Scheme

Health Minister Edwin Poots is to launch a new food-labelling scheme which aims to help more people make healthier eating choices.

The scheme, which has been introduced by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), will use 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.

The new, universal front of pack label will be recommended best practice across the whole of the UK, while in Northern Ireland, food manufacturers Mash Direct and Moy Park will be among the first to participate in the new scheme.

Speaking ahead of the launch, the Minister welcomed the initiative, saying: "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."

Mr Poots added that getting the correct information will help everyone make the right choices about their diet.

"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," he explained.

(JP/CD)

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