Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Department of Health
338. To ask the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 395 of 20 February 2018, the status of the monitoring body to be designated to monitor the voluntary codes of practice on the marketing of food and non-alcoholic beverages; the timeframe for the designation of the body; the timeframe for the development of guidelines for implementation of the code and mechanisms for monitoring; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19968/18]
The national Obesity Policy and Action Plan (OPAP) was approved by the Government in 2016. The OPAP recommended that a code of practice for food and beverages promotion, marketing and sponsorship be developed, implemented and evaluated in conjunction with the food industry, HSE, Dept of Children and Youth Affairs, safefood, Food Safety Authority of Ireland and advertiser organisations. The OPAP premised this recommendation by providing that 'already there are many examples of the food industry making positive contributions to the prevention of obesity and it is essential to capitalise and expand on such initiatives'.
The group that developed the Codes involved representatives from the food industry, advertising sector, statutory agencies, and various Government Departments. It was chaired by the former CEO of the statutory Food Safety Authority of Ireland. The Codes of Practice concerned were published in February.
The Codes of Practice are one of the suite of actions set out in the OPAP in the knowledge that no single sector or agency, or no single action, is able to solve this issue on their own. Everyone and every sector has a role to play in those solutions.
Section 10 of the Codes of Practice provides for a governance framework for these codes. It stipulates that the Codes 'will be monitored for compliance and effectiveness by a monitoring body designated by the Minister for Health' and that the Codes 'will be underpinned by guidance developed by the monitoring body with respect to its application'. It is not possible at this juncture to specify a timeframe for the development of the latter; but work on the establishment of the monitoring body is underway, and I expect that significant progress will be made in this regard in the coming months.