The Food Standards Agency's nutrient profiling model
Monday 7 July 2008
This consultation focuses on the outcome of the review and the review panel's conclusion that the nutrient profiling model is a scientifically robust tool fit for its intended purpose. The panel recommends removing the protein cap to simplify the model’s use but that no other amendment be pursued. A consultation response summary will be published spring 2009 when the FSA Board discusses the issue.
All comments and views should be sent to:
Food Standards Agency
Room 115B Aviation House
London WC2B 6NH
Tel: 020 7276 8148
Fax: 020 7276 8193
Responses are requested by: 29 September 2008
The Food Standards Agency's (FSA) nutrient profiling (NP) model was developed as a tool for Ofcom to use to differentiate foods high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) from those which are not, in the context of strengthening the broadcast advertising restrictions to improve the balance of food and drink advertising to children on TV.
When the FSA Board recommended that the Agency’s NP model be used by Ofcom for this purpose, it committed to reviewing the impact of the NP model one year from its first date of use (1 April 2007). A number of scientific and technical issues raised by stakeholders were considered as part of the review process, details of which are given in the document at the link below.
The Review Panel has now drafted its recommendations in respect of the NP model and its use for broadcast controls, as set out below.
The independent review of the FSA’s NP model was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the NP model in differentiating foods on the basis of their nutritional composition in the context of Ofcom’s UK broadcasting controls, which seek to improve the balance of foods being advertised to children.
The specific remit of the review was to:
- identify foods which are restricted from being advertised to children and those which are not, following introduction of Ofcom’s broadcasting rules
- consider practical issues which have arisen as a result of using the model
- seek views of interested parties on technical issues associated with operation of the model
An independent panel of experts (the ‘Review Panel’ ) was tasked with making recommendations to the FSA on the NP model and its use for broadcasting controls. The document at the link below summarises the work carried out by the Review Panel to date and the evidence on which the Panel’s recommendations are based.
Full details of the review process, including agreed timelines and stakeholder participation, can be found at the link below.
Review Panel’s conclusions
Having reviewed the available evidence the Review Panel has concluded that the NP model is a scientifically robust tool which effectively categorises foods on the basis of their nutritional composition, in the context of Ofcom’s broadcast advertising controls. It has made two recommendations regarding the model.
During the stakeholder consultation exercise at the beginning of the Review process, some stakeholders expressed a view that inclusion of the 'protein cap' in the NP model was hindering reformulation of certain food products. The Review Panel considered the rationale underpinning the protein cap and is proposing that the protein cap of the NP model be removed.
The Review Panel considers that removal of the protein cap would have a limited impact on the classification of foods by the NP model and would simplify use of the model.
The consequence of this proposed amendment would be that a small number of foods (less than 3% of 877 foods tested) which would previously have not been permitted to be advertised to children on TV could be advertised if the protein cap were removed. Foods affected would include some brands of savoury snacks (breadsticks, flavoured rice cakes and lightly salted crisps) and some types of breakfast cereal. Worked examples to illustrate the effect of removing the protein cap are detailed in the document at the link below.
The Review Panel has also expressed some concern about the way TV adverts featuring recipes and serving suggestions are currently assessed by Clearcast (formerly Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre) and have requested that the matter be considered further by the FSA, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and Ofcom. The FSA will advise you separately on how this request is being dealt with.
The Review Panel has looked at all other issues raised during the stakeholder consultation exercise but did not consider that any further amendments to the NP model should be pursued. The rationale for this is outlined in the document at the link below.
Following this consultation, all views and comments will be considered by the Review Panel. The Panel’s final recommendations on the NP model will be then be considered by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition and submitted to the Agency Board for consideration in early 2009.
This consultation is not accompanied by an Impact Assessment because no additional costs to business will arise.
This consultation has been prepared in accordance with the HM Government Code of Practice on Consultation, which states that a consultation must follow better regulation best practice, including carrying out an Impact Assessment (Regulatory Impact Assessment in Scotland). The assessment is included in the consultation documents.
We are interested in what you thought of this consultation and would therefore welcome your general feedback on both the consultation package and overall consultation process. If you would like to assist us to improve the quality of future consultations, please feel free to share your thoughts with us by using the consultation feedback questionnaire.
Publication of personal data and confidentiality of responses
In accordance with the FSA principle of openness our Information Centre at Aviation House will hold a copy of the completed consultation. Responses will be open to public access upon request. The FSA will also publish a summary of responses, which may include personal data, such as your full name and contact address details. If you do not want this information to be released, please complete and return the Publication of Personal Data Form. Return of this form does not mean that we will treat your response to the consultation as confidential, just your personal data.
Data protection form (Word)
Data protection form (pdf)
Publication of response summary
Within three months of a consultation ending we aim to publish a summary of responses received and provide a link to it from this page.
If, after three months, the summary is still not showing, please contact the person who was responsible for the original consultation. Alternatively, you can contact the FSA Consultation Co-ordinator by email: firstname.lastname@example.org