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UK food industry responds to Lancet obesity series

30 August 2011

In response to the Lancet’s Obesity Series, Terry Jones, Food and Drink Federation’s director of communications said “The Lancet fails to recognise the lengths to which the UK food and drink industry has gone to help improve the health of the nation, particularly in relation to rising obesity levels.

“Earlier this year we were pleased to have been a founding signatory of the Government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal – demonstrating our commitment to a multi-stakeholder and coordinated approach to improving public health. We bring with us our track record of achievement in key areas such as the reformulation of products – an area where the UK is now widely recognised as leading the world, the provision of clear consumer information and our drive to support our own workforce to make healthier choices.

“On product reformulation, the UK has been ahead of the game for a long time in reducing salt, energy and fat in their products. Achievements so far include a 9% reduction in the amount of salt and fat consumed by households since 2006 (source: Kantar World Panel), and via the Responsibility Deal, our members have committed to reduce levels even further where technologically possible, safe and acceptable to consumers.

“We recognise the significant threat that obesity poses to society and have taken a proactive part in improving health. Food companies are well aware of the complex diet, lifestyle and health challenges facing society and understand the high expectations that policy makers, regulators and campaigners have of the entire food industry. Though the Responsibility Deal initiative is still in its infancy, we firmly believe that as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development made clear last year ‘co-operation between government and industry is the single most critical link in a multi stakeholder approach.”

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