NICE, the government health watchdog, has been branded “out of touch” with the food industry after calling for a ban on the use of trans-fats.

Earlier this week the body claimed that banning the artificial fats from food products could save 40,000 lives a year and reduce annual NHS costs by £1bn.

The Food & Drink Federation launched a stinging attack on the body in the wake of its warning. It said the body was “out of touch” with ongoing efforts by the food trade to make production healthier and said it was “surprised NICE has found the time and money” to issue the guidance.

“The [UK] food industry is leading the world when it comes to voluntarily changing the recipes of popular food brands so that they are lower in salt, fat or sugar,” said FDF communications director Julian Hunt.

“[We are] introducing better-for-you choices at the same price as standard lines and improving the quality of nutrition information available on packs.

”Industry reformulation efforts have already resulted in the levels of trans fats in foods dropping to well below the suggested maximum daily intake recommended by the World Health Organisation.”

He added: “The new Government has rightly made public health its top priority and has already set out a clear vision of its priorities in this area, including how it wants to create even more momentum behind industry’s voluntary actions.

“We look forward to working with new ministers to bring that work to life in a way that makes a real difference for consumers.”

Read more
FSA urges switch to 1% milk in satfat drive (19 January 2010)
Ban butter and trans fats, demand health experts (18 January 2010)