Food manufacturers have urged new health secretary Jeremy Hunt to broaden the Public Health Responsibility Deal (PHRD) – not to make its commitments deeper.
Prime minister David Cameron appointed Hunt to replace Andrew Lansley – chief architect of the PHRD – in the cabinet reshuffle yesterday (September 4)
Melanie Leech, director general of the Food and Drink Federation, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We look forward to working with Jeremy Hunt, continuing our joint work on the Responsibility Deal which has proved an effective mechanism for bringing stakeholders together and enabling businesses to play their part in improving public health.
Broaden the membership
“We would urge him [Hunt] to continue Andrew Lansley’s drive to broaden the membership of the deal so that many more organisations businesses, local authorities, public health practitioners, NGOs [non governmental organisations] – can get engaged in this important work.”
Kaarin Goodburn, Chilled Food Association’s (CFA) director, asked Hunt to: “Secure from the foodservice sector the same breadth and depth of salt/other reformulation work and information provision as done by the retail sector's suppliers.”
Brian Young, director general of the British Frozen Food Federation, said Hunt's first task should be to forge a relationship built on trust with the food industry.
Hunt's predessor [Lansley] had not succeeded in building trust. For example, food manufacturers' efforts to achieve lower salt targets in food and been followed by more targets, and then more targets,” said Young.
Meanwhile, Owen Paterson, Conservative MP for Shropshire, has been appointed secretary of state at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Paterson, who replaces Caroline Spelman, was previously secretary of state for Northern Ireland.
Between 2003–2005 the MP for North Shropshire was shadow agriculture, fisheries and food minister.
Jim Paice was axed from his role as DEFRA food and farming minister.
Liberal Democrat MP David Heath was appointed environment minister.
What the papers say:
Financial Times: “Mr Cameron’s fate is going to be determined by the economy, not by a cabinet game of musical chairs. Reshuffles are of limited importance in the real world. But a chance to relaunch his premiership has been missed.”
The Times: “New jobs at Westminster’s top table mean nothing if they fail to create the conditions for jobs across the country.”
The Times: “This reshuffle was not showy or invigorating but if there is a positive message to be drawn it is that the Prime Minister has realised that the chief failing of government has been in the delivery of economic policy.”
The Daily Mail: “The biggest question of all is how the new Tory team will fare against entrenched Lib Dem resistance to cutting spending, taxes and red tape.”