Food industry defends its record as doctors demand obesity curbs


THE FOOD industry has defended its health record after doctors attacked the Government’s obesity strategy and called for a range of measures to curb the way manufacturers operate
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which represents all of Britain’s GPs, claims "irresponsible marketing" is making Britain the Fat Man of Europe and has announced a three-month investigation.

It described the Government’s current  strategy – which trusts food and drink firms to voluntarily reduce calories, cut portion sizes and advise the public on healthy eating – as fundamentally flawed and claims that unless tougher curbs are brought in, 40 per cent of the population could be dangerously overweight within ten years.

The academy want the Government to ban fast food and soft drinks firms, as well as brewers, from sponsoring sports events, and is calling for a ban  on celebrities advertising so-called ‘unhealthy’ food. The medical body is also demanding compulsory clear labelling on products, showing calorific and sugar content, and so-called ‘fat taxes’ to be placed on certain food and drink items.
Its investigation will be chaired by Professor Terence Stephenson, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

However, Barbara Gallani, director of food safety and science at the Food and Drink Federation, the organisation representing Britain’s biggest food and soft drinks firms, pointed out that manufacturers had voluntarily introduced a wide range of  measures to make products healthier: "Food manufacturers have a good track record of making positive contributions to improving public health through a wide range of actions, whether it’s developing healthy choices, reformulating recipes of some of the nation’s favourite foods, or working to improve the food literacy of consumers," she said.

A spokesman for Coca-Cola said: "Without the support of sponsors such as Coca-Cola, as many as 170 of the 200 national Olympic committees would be unable to send athletes to compete."