Press Release

Varadkar announces development of Code of Practice for food marketing, promotion and sponsorship

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has announced the appointment of Professor Alan Reilly to chair a working group to develop a code of practice for food marketing, promotion and sponsorship.

Professor Alan Reilly has considerable experience in this field as the former Chief Executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and is the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Food Information Council.

The new working group has five main objectives:

  1.  To develop a Code of Practice for food advertising and marketing that applies to non-broadcast media, outdoor media, print media and cinemas;
  2. To develop a Code of Practice for sponsorship by the food industry;
  3. To develop a Code of Practice relating to food and beverage product placement in the retail sector;
  4. To consider options relating to the governance of a Code and to make recommendation;
  5. The working group shall report within one year.

Minister Varadkar said:  “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.

“We know that food marketing can have an influence on what we choose to eat. That’s why I have asked Professor Alan Reilly to chair the expert group to develop a code of practice for the industry on food marketing, promotion, product placement and sponsorship. 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.”

The group includes representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, IBEC, FDII, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, the Association of Advertisers in Ireland, the Institute of Advertisers in Ireland, the Food Safety Promotion Board (Safefood), Healthy Food For All, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the HSE and the Department of Health.

Ends

Note for Editors:
A Working Group to develop a Voluntary Code of Practice has been established on food marketing and sponsorship.  It comprises representatives of relevant Government Departments, Food Industry, Advertising and Promotion Industry, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Consumer Advocates and Relevant Non-Governmental Organisations.  The Working Group will consider options related to the governance of voluntary codes of practice for food advertising and marketing that apply in the non-broadcast media, outdoor media, print (including digital) media and cinemas; Sponsorship by the food and non-alcoholic drink industry; and Food and beverage product promotion and placement in the retail sector.  The group will also design an appropriate system for monitoring of complaints, compliance verification and a review mechanism.  The code is one of a range of measures to support healthier eating across the population.  The inaugural meeting of the group took place on Wednesday 30th September 2015.