Minister defends cheese in broadcasting submission


MINISTER FOR Health James Reilly has confirmed that his department has told the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) that cheese has nutritional benefits when taken in small amounts.

Dr Reilly confirmed that his department made a submission to the BAI on its contentious Children’s Commercial Communications Code.

The BAI is reviewing diet and nutrition rules contained in its children’s code. While it covers a wide variety of food and drinks, the proposal to include certain cheeses in the “less healthy” category has received the most criticism.

In a written Dáil response to Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher TD, Dr Reilly said that while the submission made on the code was not in the public domain, “I can confirm that my department’s submission considers cheese to have important nutritional benefits when eaten in small amounts”.

Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney warned: “Any ban on the advertising of cheddar cheese has the potential to damage the brand image of Irish dairy products, particularly on overseas markets, at a time when the industry is gearing up to increase production in the lead-up to the abolition of milk quotas in 2015.”