Food Standards Agency welcomes sugar reduction guidance for industry in Northern Ireland

Last updated:
30 March 2017
sugar bowl
The Food Standards Agency welcomes the new guidelines published today by Public Health England (PHE). The guidelines set out the approaches the food industry should take to reduce the net amount of sugar children consume through everyday food. As a result, around 200,000 tonnes of sugar could be removed from UK diets per year by 2020.

The guidance sets out the recommended sugar limits for nine food groups including biscuits, breakfast cereals and yogurt, as well as how the reductions could be achieved by the food industry.

In Northern Ireland the Food Standards Agency has been working with small and medium sized businesses to align with the ambition outlined by PHE today to remove 20% of sugar from foods in these categories by 2020.

Adults in Northern Ireland are eating double the recommended amount of sugar and children are eating around three times more sugar than they should. Eating too many calories, whether they come from fat or sugar, can lead to weight gain and ultimately obesity. Sugary foods and drinks can also cause tooth decay.

Heather Hancock, the Chair of the Food Standards Agency, said: 'We know that adults and children in Northern Ireland are eating too much sugar and that most of it comes from everyday foods such as breakfast cereals and yoghurts as well as from foods such as confectionery and biscuits. That is why the Food Standards Agency’s work with the Northern Ireland food industry is vital in reducing the levels of sugar, saturated fat and salt in the food they manufacture, serve or sell as well as reducing portion sizes in general.

'For people's diet to improve in Northern Ireland, I believe that healthy choices should be easy for everyone to make. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is a key factor in having good health and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. We are committed to collaborating across government and industry in tackling obesity and providing consumers with the opportunities to support and access a healthier lifestyle.'

The FSA is also working with local cafes and restaurants to encourage display of calories on menus so that people have the information they need to make healthy choices when eating out. The FSA's aim is to have healthier choices widely available and easy for consumers to make wherever they eat.

Further  information on food product improvement in Northern Ireland can be found at: