HFSS enforcement ‘unlikely to be regarded as a priority’ by trading officers

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HFSS enforcement is “unlikely to be regarded as a priority” for Trading Standards officers, claimed a recent report, citing comments from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).

The new HFSS regulations – which came into force last week- restrict the display and in-store promotional locations of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS).

Despite issuing detailed guidance in an attempt to help retailers navigate the exhaustive number of potential in-store layout restrictions, the government is making less than £400,000 available for enforcement activity in England, over a three-year period.

“Trading Standards are incredibly stretched right now, having faced a halving of resources over the last decade,” a media report quoted CTSI lead officer for food David Pickering as saying.

Pickering added that while these regulations are seen as an important public health measure, it will be for local Trading Standards services to liaise with their public health teams and adopt an approach that is in keeping with the public health priorities in their area.

The report comes amid speculations that prime minister Liz Truss might scrap the new HFSS restrictions altogether. She has expressed her displeasure over ban on multibuy promotions such as buy one get one free (BOGOF) deals on HFSS products.

Most recently, during her speech at the Conservative Party Conference this week, Truss said, “I’m not going to tell you what to do or what to think or how to live your life. I’m not interested in how many two-for-one offers you buy at the supermarket.”

According to an earlier report in The Guardian, the review of HFSS restrictions, ordered by the Treasury, comes as part of Truss’ ambition to reduce burdens on business and help shoppers through the cost of living crisis.

The ‘internal summary’ process is also set to possibly ditch calorie counts on menus in restaurants and cafes.

It is said that officials at the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities are “aghast” at the prospect of the new prime minister scrapping plans to battle junk food consumption.