Under the umbrella of the national oversight group, the Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group, work is being intensified on the development of the monitoring mechanism for the Codes of Practice on the Marketing and Advertising of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages. This has taken longer than anticipated with respect to determining the most robust monitoring mechanism to preserve the integrity of the implementation of the Codes for the benefit of public nutritional health and in line with the main objective of the Obesity Policy and Action Plan (OPAP) to deal with the problem of obesity. The progression of the development of guidelines to govern the implementation of these codes is also being conducted in tandem with the development of the robust monitoring mechanism.
Furthermore, my Department has engaged with industry representation on initiating a register of signatories to the Codes of Practice from the perspective of compiling a list of companies that would be signing up to the Codes. The development of guidance on the interpretation of the Codes will precede the development of this list.
My Department has engaged with industry both formally and informally in a number of areas of interest within the context of obesity. For example, and as the Deputy is aware, the Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group agreed to establish a sub-group for Reformulation. This sub-group has met on a number of occasions since being established and agreed their Terms of Reference. The Reformulation sub-group is technical in its work programme. The work of the sub-group will primarily set targets on reformulation of food and drink. It will also make recommendations on addressing reduction of portion sizes and on monitoring and validation procedures.
As part of its work, a workshop between the Reformulation sub-group and Food Sector Stakeholders comprised of, among others, industry on reformulation, has taken place on two separate occasions. These provided an important opportunity for detailed engagement with key Food Sector Stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities of reformulation in the interests of promoting the health and wellbeing of the population. And the work of the sub-group is now building on this engagement.