The food industry has slammed the FSA’s decision to push through its controversial point-scoring nutrient profiling model for use by Ofcom in its probe into food advertising to children later this year.
The decision by the FSA, delivered as The Grocer went to press, was made despite it acknowledging strong opposition from suppliers.
Cadbury, PepsiCo, Unilever, P&G, Nestlé, Allied Bakeries, Kellogg, Heinz, Sainsbury and Waitrose were among the companies voicing opposition.
FDF deputy director general Martin Paterson said the FSA “had pulled a fast one” as it had changed aspects of the model during the consultation without notifying the industry. “The final model now has an ‘absolute threshold score’, which means if foods score highly for ‘bad’ nutrients they will not be redeemed by any ‘good’ nutrients. The model seems to be designed to work against food that they wish to target.”
Another key issue was that by scoring foods, the FSA was demonising certain products.
The FSA’s decision coincides with a fresh drive by MPs backing the Children’s Food Bill Early Day Motion, which calls on Tony Blair to put an outright ban on advertising “junk food” to kids. Celebrity chefs were enlisted to co-sign an open letter to Blair asking for his support to ban promotions that “undermine children’s health”.
Rachel Barnes