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FSA welcomes sugar reduction guide as NI children consume three times limit

The Food Standards Agency has welcomed the new sugar reduction guidelines published today by Public Health England (PHE), which aims to remove 20% of sugar from foods in key categories by 2020.

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

In Northern Ireland, the FSA has been working with small and medium sized businesses to align with the 20% sugar cut ambition outlined by PHE.

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.