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No plans for public consultation on food marketing code

A Department spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) the working group’s report should be finalised “in the coming few months”.

The working group is chaired by former Chief Executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) Prof Alan Reilly and first met in late September 2015. It has convened eight times.

The 16-member group includes the chair, three representatives from the Department, three from IBEC, and one each from the FSAI, HSE, Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI), Association of Advertisers in Ireland (AAI), Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI), Safefood, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DFAM).

The Department’s press release issued on 1 October 2015, announcing the working group, cited five main objectives: to develop a code of practice for food advertising and marketing that applies to non-broadcast media, outdoor media, print media and cinemas; to develop a code of practice for sponsorship by the food industry; to develop a code of practice relating to food and beverage product placement in the retail sector; and to consider options relating to the governance of a code and to make a recommendation. The working group “shall report within one year”.

The initiative was presented as “one of a range of measures to support healthier eating across the population”.

Speaking recently to MI, Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy refused to comment on Coca-Cola Zero’s controversial sponsorship of local bike schemes, citing the ongoing nature of the working group’s deliberations.

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