Food Standards Agency
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FSA in Northern Ireland
Nutrition initiatives and policy in Northern Ireland.
The Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland launched a six-month pilot scheme in 2012 that saw local food businesses displaying calorie information on menus for the first time. The pilot has since been evaluated and following its success, the FSA in NI are planning to rollout the scheme in 2014.
The FSA recommends the mandatory fortification of bread or flour with folic acid in order to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in foetuses.
Food poverty is the inability of individuals and households to obtain an adequate and nutritious diet, often because they cannot afford healthy food or there is a lack of shops in their area that are easy to reach.
On 19 June 2013, following detailed discussions with the food industry, health organisations and other interested parties, FSA in Northern Ireland launched a new front-of-pack nutrition labelling system to help consumers see at glance what is in their food.
The food we eat outside the home makes up an increasingly important part of our diet. The average person eats one in every six meals out of home and if we add in snacks and 'grab and go' food, men consume about a quarter of their calories when eating out, and women around a fifth. So, the choices we make when eating out can go a long way to help us to maintain a balanced diet.
High salt intakes contribute to high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The FSA in Northern Ireland has a programme of work to help consumers reduce their salt intake.
Currently people are eating more saturated fat, on average, than is recommended, and rising levels of obesity indicate that energy intakes currently exceed energy requirements. Both these issues raise serious health concerns, particularly in relation to coronary heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.
FSA Northern Ireland has worked with schools and universities to find out young peoples’ attitudes to food, and produced support materials to help them make healthy and safe food choices when they leave home. A number of fun games are also available for primary school and post primary school children, as well as other teaching resources.
The eatwell plate makes healthy eating easier to understand by giving a visual representation of the types and proportions of foods needed for a healthy and well balanced diet.
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