A range of processed food, drink and alcohol manufacturers as well as fast food companies are collaborating with the UK Department of Health to develop a government policy on obesity, a problem which mainly roots in improper eating habits. The companies, which teamed up for working on the paper, are McDonald’s, KFC, PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Mars and Diageo.
Image Courtesy: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian
According to Guardian.co.uk, health secretary Andrew Lansley created five “responsibility deal” networks, which include food industry representatives, public interest health and consumer groups and ministers, who are expected to elaborate policies on the issue. Some of their approaches will be unveiled in the public health white paper to be released the next month. The idea of uniting those, who create the problem, for finding ways to battle it raised a wave of criticism. Some people believe that it’s not a logical decision to empower processed food manufacturers, fast food companies to solve health and diet problems.
To respond to the uproar, the Department of Health said, “For the forthcoming public health white paper we’ve engaged a wide range of people, as we are also doing to help us develop the responsibility deal drawn from business, the voluntary sector, other non-governmental organisations, local government, as well as public health bodies. A diverse range of experts are also involved.”
The members are called to identify the barriers, which are better to be removed to stimulate the industry, and approaches to change consumer habits and improve lives. The ultimate goal of the initiative of the Department of Health is not to regulate the work of the groups, but to get new insights from them. “We are hopeful that engaging with the food industry will lead to changes in the quality and healthiness of the products we and our children eat. It is possible to make progress on issues such as salt reduction through voluntary agreements, and we’re keeping an open mind until we see what comes out of the meetings, but we do think that there is still a role for regulation,” added president Professor Lindsey Davies, Faculty of Public Health.