Health Minister Commended for Setting up Food Industry Task Force

Photo: Camar Getfield Executive Director of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, Deborah Chen, addresses Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ on January 24.

Story Highlights

  • The Heart Foundation of Jamaica is commending Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, for setting up the National Food Industry Task Force (NFITF) in 2017.
  • Executive Director of the Foundation, Mrs. Deborah Chen, told a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ on January 24, that the organisation is pleased with the work of the NFITF, on which a representative of the Foundation serves. Mrs. Chen, who also spoke on the upcoming observation of Heart Month in February, pointed out that members of the Task Force are food industry stakeholders.
  • With obesity, caused by poor nutrition, being a leading risk factor of developing an NCD, and that two out of every three deaths yearly result from NCDs, the NFITF has been engaging the Jamaican food industry in addressing the unhealthy eating habits of Jamaicans.

The Heart Foundation of Jamaica is commending Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, for setting up the National Food Industry Task Force (NFITF) in 2017.

Executive Director of the Foundation, Mrs. Deborah Chen, told a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ on January 24, that the organisation is pleased with the work of the NFITF, on which a representative of the Foundation serves. Mrs. Chen, who also spoke on the upcoming observation of Heart Month in February, pointed out that members of the Task Force are food industry stakeholders.

“These are the leading persons in their industry, and they are being encouraged to reformulate their products, not just in terms of sugar, but in terms of the nutrients,” she said.

She added that they are also looking at labelling, because many labels are not easily read or understood. “I know there is a move afoot globally to make the labels simpler, and that is part of the mandate of the NFITF, so we commend the Minister and the Ministry of Health for that move. We think that from a policy level, that will go a great way in assisting to deal with obesity and will impact the cases that we see on a daily basis at the Heart Foundation,” Mrs. Chen said. The NFITF was established to support the response to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or ‘lifestyle diseases’.

With obesity, caused by poor nutrition, being a leading risk factor of developing an NCD, and that two out of every three deaths yearly result from NCDs, the NFITF has been engaging the Jamaican food industry in addressing the unhealthy eating habits of Jamaicans.

The Task Force is focusing on product reformulation, food labelling, marketing of foods, and education, communication and advocacy.

Heart Month will be observed under the theme ‘Healthy Nutrition: Know Your Labels’.

JIS Social