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Voluntary Junk Food Code ‘doomed to fail’ – Boylan

14 February, 2018 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has slammed the Irish Government’s launch of a merely voluntary code for the marketing of junk food to young people.

Speaking from Dublin, Ms Boylan said;

“It beggars belief that Minister Byrne and the Department of Health are introducing a voluntary model that has already failed in every country it has been tried in. Ireland cannot afford to waste more time implementing failed policies while our childhood obesity problem continues to get worse.

“State funded research estimates that 85,000 children on the island of Ireland will die prematurely due to overweight and obesity.  The introduction of a voluntary code rather than mandatory legislation will not do anything to help the situation; instead, it will only delay real action on the issue. 

“What is required is legislation that has penalties for those who breach it.  The EU Pledge which is the EU wide voluntary code has been breached on numerous occasions by industry due to the lack of sanctions.

“Apart from the voluntary nature of the code, there are other serious concerns with the Department’s proposal.  Who is going to be the body to monitor the code? Will it be proactive or only react to complaints from the public?   How does the Department intend to monitor the effectiveness of such a code? 

“It is a shame that the Department have opted for this seen to be doing something approach rather than taking real measures that will effectively tackle the increasing prevalent condition that is childhood obesity.” 

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