Wednesday, 3 June 2020
Department of Health
735. To ask the Minister for Health the status of the work of the Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group Reformulation sub-group in its priority of setting of targets for food and drink reformulation and a roadmap for reformulation action to achieve such targets; when the submission of a report with the targets and roadmap is expected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9566/20]
738. To ask the Minister for Health if work has been undertaken to review evidence for fiscal measures on products that are high in fat, sugar and salt to reduce their consumption as per Action 1.10 of A Healthy Weight for Ireland: Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016-2025; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9569/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 735 and 738 together.
A Healthy Weight for Ireland’, the Obesity Policy and Action Plan (OPAP), was launched in September 2016 under the auspices of the Healthy Ireland agenda. The OPAP covers a 10-year period up to 2025 and aims to reverse obesity trends, prevent health complications and reduce the overall burden for individuals, families, the health system, and the wider society and economy. The OPAP is based on the best available evidence in the Irish and international literature, and is informed by established international models and frameworks.
In relation to measures dealing with the level of consumption of products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS), the Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax has already been introduced and commenced on 1stMay 2018. The current focus in this area is on putting in place a reformulation programme for HFSS food and drink, under Action 3.1 of the OPAP, “Agree food industry reformulation targets and review progress”. To this end the Reformulation sub-group of the Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group (OPIOG) has been working on a roadmap for reformulation, including targets for reductions in salt, sugar, saturated fats and calories, and a proposed approach to achieve these targets. A draft roadmap has been considered by the OPIOG and a consultation with stakeholders subsequently took place. The submissions received as a result of that consultation process are being examined and it is expected that a report with the targets and final version of the roadmap will be submitted in the coming months.
Additionally, Ireland is participating in a Joint Action under the 3rd EU Health Programme called Best ReMaP (which stands for Best practice in Reformulation, Marketing and Public Procurement). The Joint Action is awaiting final approval form the EU Commission, but it is hoped that work will commence in the autumn. One of the work packages under this Joint Action is on reformulation, and this will be beneficial in assisting Ireland to achieve progress in its actions under the reformulation roadmap.