The UK’s Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health have jointly established a Nutrition Strategy Steering Group (NSSG) to be co-chaired by Public Health Minister, Caroline Flint and FSA chair, Dame Deirdre Hutton.

The NSSG intends to bring together representatives from the food industry and consumer and health groups with an eye to driving improvements to the nation’s health through diet and nutrition policies, including those set out in the Choosing Health white paper.

Following the group’s first meeting, the NSSG agreed to focus on progressing the FSA’s commitment to the independent assessment of nutritional front of pack labelling schemes. The group said its research objective was: “to evaluate the impact of ‘front of pack’ signpost labelling schemes on purchasing behaviour and consumer knowledge.”

Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said: “Food manufacturers, retailers and representatives of the third sector have a key role to play in helping people make positive steps towards a healthy lifestyle. This group represents a high level commitment across industry and government to ensure the action we take to help people make healthy living choices has the greatest impact.”

Food Standards Agency chair, Deirdre Hutton, commented: “Working in partnership is vital to achieving our shared goal of improving the health of our nation. The NSSG will provide a valuable platform from which we can agree a co-ordinated approach to making healthier eating easier. ‘Setting up independent research to assess front of pack nutritional labelling schemes is the NSSG’s first task – the results of which will provide a clear way forward for both Government and industry on this issue.”