Date Published: 28 July 2009

FSA launches consultation on reducing saturated fat and added sugar in key foods (UK)

Health Food - illustrating an item from the UK Food Standards Agency.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is launching a consultation on its proposals to introduce voluntary recommendations for food manufacturers for reductions in saturated fat and added sugar and increased availability of smaller single-portion sizes in a number of key foods – biscuits, cakes, pastries, buns, chocolate confectionery and soft drinks.

The proposals will also encourage industry to increase the proportion of marketing budgets allocated to healthier options.

The Agency’s work to encourage industry to reformulate and reduce portion sizes will focus on those foods that will help deliver real public health benefits. We are also asking industry to prioritise making reductions in their biggest selling products for maximum impact. The first phase of this work will focus on various sweet foods and treats. Later in the year there will be further consultation on dairy and meat products and savoury snacks.

Gill Fine, Director of Consumer Choice and Dietary Health at the FSA, said:

" We recognise the excellent work already achieved by some food businesses to make healthier eating easier. But to make even greater progress it’s important that everybody gets behind our recommendations on saturated fat, added sugar and portion sizes.

The food industry regularly reviews its ingredients and processes, as well as portion sizes, and the aim of this proposal is to encourage them to consider how they can play their part in improving public health and helping consumers to maintain a healthy weight.

What we are not doing is telling people what to eat! What we want to do is to make it easier for people to make healthier choices – to choose foods with reduced saturated fat and sugar – or smaller portion sizes. "

In February 2008 the Agency published its Saturated Fat and Energy Intake Programme, which outlined the actions needed to help consumers reduce saturated fat in their diet and balance the amount of calories they consume with their needs. The Agency’s programme identified four areas for action:

  • improving consumer awareness and understanding of healthy eating with particular focus on the impact of saturated fat on health
  • encouraging promotion and uptake of healthier options
  • encouraging accessibility of smaller food portion sizes
  • encouraging voluntary reformulation of mainstream products to reduce saturated fat and energy

Earlier this year the Agency ran a media campaign across the UK raising awareness of the health risks from eating too much saturated fat along with supporting advice on how to cut down.

Once the consultation is complete, comments will be taken into account and a summary of responses will be published. It is anticipated that the final recommendations will be published by the end of the year.

 

Source: Food Standards Agency (FSA), UK.

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