Processed Food

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 20 July 2023.

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Photo of Baroness Suttie Baroness Suttie Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to carry out research into the impact of ultra-processed foods on public health outcomes.

Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell Conservative

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) is currently carrying out a scoping review of the evidence on processed foods and health and aims to publish its initial assessment in the summer of 2023. SACN’s scoping review will make a number of research recommendations in this area. This review will also include evaluating existing classifications of processed foods, including ultra-processed foods and the NOVA classification.

SACN is a committee of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) and provides independent scientific advice and risk assessments on nutrition and related health issues. Members of SACN are appointed as independent scientific experts in their field. We are not aware of any plans to agree a definition internationally.

The Department funds research on health and social care through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health including ultra-processed foods. The usual practice of the NIHR is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics.

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