Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (738)

Billy Kelleher


745 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the review by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland of the Children’s Commercial Communications Code, aiming to help the fight against obesity by restricting TV advertising to children of foods high in sugar, fat and salt, has been discredited by a fundamental conflict of interest as the principal of a company (details supplied), the British consultancy firm retained by the BAI, was one of the persons involved in designing for the UK FSA the nutrient profiling model which wrongly classifies cheese as less healthy on the same basis as confectionary and sugary drink; if he will therefore liaise with his colleague, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Pat Rabbitte, in seeking a new, truly independent review which will reconsider the treatment of cheese under the code, to appropriately reflect its important nutritional value to the diet of children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34461/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

I was not aware that the consultant of the British consultancy firm retained by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, was one of the persons involved in designing for the UK Food Standards Authority the Nutrient Profiling Model. While the submission made to the Children's Commercial Communications Code is not in the public domain, I can confirm that my Department's submission considers cheese to have important nutritional benefits when eaten in small amounts. The Food Pyramid is the education tool used by the Department of Health for educating consumers about healthy eating. The Food Pyramid has a shelf designated to solely to Milk, Yogurt and Cheese and recommends that 3 servings of these be consumed each day as these foods provide adequate calcium which is important for healthy bones and teeth. It recommends that low fat choices be consumed regularly. The submission from my Department is consistent with the Food Pyramid messages for healthy eating.