The Food Standards Agency has stood by its decision to push ahead with the nutrient profiling model for Ofcom’s children’s food advertising investigation, although it has eased industry concerns by promising to review the system after 12 months.
The move came as Tony Blair told MPs that there was a ”case for action” on curbing junk food promotions to children.
One of the key industry concerns was that certain foods would be penalised by measuring all products as 100g rather than typical portion.
Gill Fine, FSA director of consumer choice and dietary health, said it had carefully considered portion sizes but
nutritional experts said a move away from 100g would not offer additional benefits and would complicate the model.
“It’s important to remember that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. It allows companies to make adjustments to products. Individually branded products have their own score rather than being grouped by category, enabling reformulation to make foods healthier.”
Fine said the model would be tried out over the next year and any anomalies addressed.
At an FSA meeting last week all board members were in agreement to give the nod to the final model, which gives food a score depending on its ‘good’ and ‘bad’ nutritional value (The Grocer, October 15, p5). It is set to be used by Ofcom in its investigation into advertising to children later this year.
Tony Blair said during Prime Minister’s Question Time this week that he would be looking carefully at what is in the Children’s Food Bill. “In principle we accept that where there is advertising of food and drinks high in fat, salt and sugar that are obviously aimed particularly at children, there is a case for action. But obviously we will have to consider very carefully what the implications for that are,” said Blair.
Meanwhile, the FSA has led a call for Brussels to amend regulations that allow traces of Sudan 1 to be found in the food dye Sunset Yellow. The amendment requested is no more than 0.5 parts per million of Sudan 1 in Sunset Yellow.
Rachel Barnes