Wednesday, 26 April 2023
The Food Reformulation Task Force – a partnership between the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and Healthy Ireland – today hosted a workshop in Cork on food reformulation for food manufacturers, retailers, and the out-of-home food service sector. Attendees at ‘Food Reformulation in Ireland: A Workshop for Food Businesses’ heard opening remarks from Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI, before presentations focusing on policy from the Department of Health, an insight into the National Prepared Consumer Food Centre by Teagasc and an explanation of technical supports available for food businesses as they work on food reformulation. The workshop also featured case studies from Kerry Dairy Ireland and Saltwell, and a presentation from Technological University Dublin on the role of industry and university collaboration in supporting food reformulation.
Food reformulation means improving the nutritional content of commonly consumed processed foods and drinks by reducing calories and target nutrients (such as saturated fat, salt and sugar). The goal of reformulation is to reduce target nutrients without increasing the energy content or nutrients of concern to ensure foods with an improved nutrient profile are available to Irish consumers. The Food Reformulation Task Force is responsible for implementing a Reformulation Roadmap with specific targets which will continue to be tracked until 2025.
The Food Reformulation Taskforce has also recently published its 2022 Progress Report, which details activities of the Task Force during its first year:
- After extensive analysis of food consumed by people living in Ireland, 40 priority food categories for overall food reformulation were defined.
- Over 70 stakeholder meetings with food industry, retailers, food service sector, government bodies and agencies, universities, charities and professional organisations took place in 2022, discussing targets for the reduction of the levels of calories, saturated fats, sugar and salt in commonly eaten processed food and drinks.
- The Food Reformulation Task Force have created a Food Reformulation Research Paper Library on the FSAI website, capturing many relevant scientific research papers on food reformulation globally to support the food industry and researchers.
Speaking about the food reformulation workshop, Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI said:
“Today’s event here in Cork has been a great opportunity for food businesses to come together and hear what other businesses are doing to achieve food reformulation targets. Great advancements have been made in food reformulation throughout 2022. As a food island, Ireland is a globally recognised leader in the safety and integrity of food, and this is thanks to how committed food businesses are to consumers and how agile they are in adapting to changing needs. We look forward to continuing to work with food businesses to ensure key targets are met, which ultimately result in the availability of food with an improved nutritional composition for health.”
Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton TD said:
“The collaboration between the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) Reformulation Task Force and the food industry is fundamental in the reduction of saturated fat, sugar, and salt in commonly consumed processed food products in Ireland."
“I very much welcome the progress made by the Task Force in the past year, working with industry and other stakeholders to deliver on the ambition of the Food Reformulation Roadmap. The Roadmap and the Task Force are key elements of the Government’s policy “A Healthy Weight for Ireland, Ireland’s Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016-2025”. Today’s workshop will pave the way for Irish consumers to access better quality food and assist people to live healthier lives and in particular, to reduce the levels of obesity in the population.”