England Challenges Food Industry to Cut Sugar Levels by 20 Percent

Critics say this voluntary approach is not enough, stronger enforcement needed to make companies comply

Wikimedia Commons / Umberto Salvagnin / CC BY 2.0 

Mandatory rules forcing compliance, banning TV junk food advertisements, and removing sweets from checkout areas at supermarkets were abandoned. 

The British government has published its Childhood Obesity Strategy, which is already drawing harsh criticism, such as accusing ministers of “caving in to the junk food lobby,” The Daily Mail reported.

Instead of putting mandatory rules in place to force companies into hitting a lower sugar target, the government is simply “challenging” the food industry to cut 20 percent of sugar content from children’s food by 2020. This challenge focuses on foods that Public Health England says to contain the most sugar: breakfast cereals, yogurts, biscuits, cakes, pastries, puddings, ice cream, and spreads.

There are no concrete laws to enforce this, only a vague promise of “alternative levers” if the goals are not met in 10 years.

“This is a truly shocking abdication of the Government’s duties to secure the health and future of the next generation,” said Malcolm Clark of the Children’s Food Campaign.


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