When Hungary launched a fat tax in the summer it was greeted as much as a chance for witty headlines as a serious proposition for us Brits.

It all seemed a long way away, not just geographically but politically, coming hot on the heels the government’s Responsibility Deal, with its focus on collaboration with the food and drink industry to tackle obesity.

Even when a damning report in August claimed almost half of British men will be clinically obese by 2030 at the current rate - not to mention the women - ministers insisted the idea was not in their thinking.

Even so there will have been more than a few sighs of relief in the industry today after health secretary Andrew Lansley released his obesity strategy, without any mention of the F word.

Despite the ambitious sounding target of slashing five billion calories a day from the nation’s diet, he continues to show a clear determination to carry on with the nudge approach, for now.

The bigger test is to come, however. The next stage of the Responsibility Deal is likely to demand far more testing pledges from retailers and suppliers alike - to reformulate food, increase the amount of fruit and veg, have clearer labelling and better communication all round to customers.

It will also be vital for the industry to hammer home the economic damage a fat tax could do to a sector that is one of the bright sparks in today’s gloomy economy.

The health lobby is sniffing blood over the Responsibility Deal and will be putting huge pressure on David Cameron to butt in just as he did with Lansley’s wider health reforms.