Political posturing set to rise as fad diets fail

By Rick Pendrous contact

- Last updated on GMT

Rick Pendrous, editor, Food Manufacture
Rick Pendrous, editor, Food Manufacture

Related tags: Nutrition

News that the voluntary Public Health Responsibility Deal (PHRD) had failed to reach agreement among brand owners on the promotion of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS), has seen renewed calls for tougher regulation of the food and drink industry.

Alongside health campaigners arguing for sugar and fat taxes, and other mandatory controls on the promotion of HFSS products, some want responsibility for nutrition and health returned from the Department of Health (DH) to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

One of the first decisions by former health secretary Andrew Lansley, architect of the PHRD, when the coalition government came to power in 2010 was to transfer nutrition and health to the DH. This was met with approval by the FSA’s critics, but many others felt it was a disastrous move, stalling the progress of diet and health improvements championed by the FSA.


One of the most vocal of these was salt and sugar reduction campaigner Professor Graham MacGregor. He remains highly critical of the damage to public health caused by Lansley, whose policies he described as “bonkers”​. He said it resulted in salt intake reduction not going as far as it should.

MacGregor said: “We now need to move nutrition back to the FSA and get on with preventing people from developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

So, as the New Year resolutions and fad diets kick in (and as quickly falter), we can look forward to another five months of political posturing on diet and health by the political parties as they jockey for position and seek the electorate’s favour in the lead up to May’s general election.

Related topics: Obesity, Legal

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