News | December 3, 2021

Ministers Donnelly And Feighan Announce Significant Plans To Reduce Levels Of Salt, Sugar, Saturated Fats And Calories In Processed Foods

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD, and Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy Frank Feighan TD, today launched A Roadmap for Food Product Reformulation in Ireland and announced the establishment of a Food Reformulation Task Force to implement the Roadmap.

The publication of the Reformulation Roadmap is a core element of Ireland’s Obesity Policy and Action Plan setting targets for the reduction of the levels of saturated fats, sugar, salt and calories in processed foods.

The Roadmap, a 2021 action in the Healthy Ireland Strategic Action Plan 2021-2025 has been prepared by the Reformulation Sub-Group of the Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group, chaired by Professor Ivan Perry of UCC. The work of the group included a consultation process with the food and drinks industry. Foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt are overconsumed in Ireland, and many other countries, which contributes to high levels of non-communicable diseases including high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Minister Donnelly said:
"I am delighted to announce the publication of the Roadmap and the establishment of the Task Force. The links between diet and non-communicable diseases are well-established, and this is particularly the case in economically disadvantaged areas, where people tend to eat more processed food. The work of the Task Force, working together with the food industry, will help to combat inequality by improving the quality of the food available."

Minister Feighan said:
"I welcome today’s publication of the Food Reformulation Roadmap and look forward to working closely with the Task Force to implement the Roadmap. We are living very busy lives and it is not always easy, even with the best of intentions, to eat or buy the healthiest option. This is an important and positive step forward for all of our health and wellbeing and will help to improve the nutritional quality of the processed food available to consumers and will have tangible benefits for public health."

The establishment of a Food Reformulation Task Force, situated within the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, will enable a detailed and category level engagement with the food industry to help drive progress towards the targets in the Roadmap. It provides a dedicated resource to work with all levels of industry to ensure progress and to address the difficulties that may arise in the highly technical process of reformulation. The Task Force will continue its work until the end of 2025, which is the end of the lifespan of the targets in the Roadmap and will publish annual reports so that the progress achieved can be measured and highlighted.

Food reformulation is also a key action in the EU’s “Farm to Fork” Strategy, and the Roadmap fulfils an action in Ireland’s Food Vision Strategy 2030.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD said:
"The Roadmap for Food Product Reformulation is an action in Ireland’s new Food Vision 2030 strategy which, in taking a food systems approach, highlights the link between food and health. Effective engagement with the food industry will be a key factor in implementing the Roadmap. I very much welcome the establishment of the Task Force to work with food industry stakeholders to help build on the progress already made by food businesses in reformulation of their products in recent years."

The Chief Executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Dr. Pamela Byrne said:
"The FSAI welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Department of Health and to lead the National Food Reformulation Task Force. Reformulation of foods is proven to have a positive impact on the quality of the diet and reducing salt, sugar and saturated fats in food products will positively contribute to a healthier population. The FSAI, through the Taskforce, looks forward to engaging with the food industry and other stakeholders to implement and drive the actions in the Reformulation Roadmap over the next four years."

The publication of the Roadmap and the establishment of the Task Force is an important step towards enhancing the healthiness and quality of Irish food. It builds on the progress already made towards reformulation over recent years and is a positive development towards the Healthy Ireland goal of improving the health and wellbeing of the Irish people.

Source: Government of Ireland