Labour mulls legislation to beat obesity

By Rick Pendrous contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Drink innovation network, Nutrition

Luciana Berger: 'Voluntary agreements only take you so far'
Luciana Berger: 'Voluntary agreements only take you so far'
The Labour Party is considering legislation covering food and drink formulation as a means of reducing Britain’s obesity crisis, estimated to cost the National Health Service £4.2bn a year.

Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger confirmed leaked press reports that Labour was assessing the impact of legislation at the British Soft Drinks Association conference on Wednesday (May 7).

Referring to the government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal, Berger said: “Voluntary agreements only take you so far. Some companies bring forward change. Whilst others can simply refuse to sign up.”

Labour would not shy away from using legislation if it was essential to improve the nation's health, she added.

‘Can we do more about TV and internet advertising …?’

“We're consulting on ideas including: whether we should limit the levels of fat, salt and sugar in products promoted substantially to children; can we do more about TV and internet advertising of food and drink high in sugar, salt and fat marketed to children?; and is our nutritional information on food and drink readable and easy to understand?,” said Berger.

Speaking the following day (May 8) at a masterclass on sugar and high intensity sweeteners organised by the Food and Drink Innovation Network in London, Dr Julian Cooper, head of food science for AB Sugar, warned of “unintended consequences” ​of removing sugar from food formulations without taking account of the functional role they play in food manufacture and ensuring it is safe.

Meanwhile, don’t miss the Food Manufacture Group’s free, one-hour webinar on obesity to take place at 11am on Thursday July 3.

The online seminar – Obesity and health: the big fat, sugar and salt debate – will offer an independent perspective on how these controversial topics affect the UK food and drink industry and how food and drink manufacturers can help to remedy the crisis.

Reserve your free place at the webinar by emailing Michael.stones@wrbm.com​. 

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