Government ministers met food industry chiefs this week to discuss ways to improve the nation’s health.
The meeting was held in advance of the publication of a White Paper, Choosing Health?, due out next month.
The discussion between health secretary John Reid, secretary of state for culture, media and sport Tessa Jowell and representatives from BRC, FDF, NFU and BHA focused on the roles the government and the food industry have to play in promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Educating children about nutrition, controlling advertising and improving food labelling were topics put forward during the debate and NFU president Tim Bennett said he expected further talks to follow.
“The meeting was to explain to John Reid and Tessa Jowell that the food industry - from farmers through to retailers - is working together, and with the government, on concerns about obesity and health.”
He added: “It is a two-way street. The government has to address nutrition information for children in schools and the control of food nutrition in schools and hospitals.
“It is also important we point out a sensible way forward for the industry to give better labelling and information to consumers.”
The meeting came just days
after The Food Standards Agency launched its public health campaign to reduce high salt consumption in the UK.
Speaking at the official launch of the campaign featuring Sid the Slug, which is a character created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, Sir John Krebs, FSA chairman, said: “I think the momentum has begun to build behind the FSA target of a 1g reduction by 2005, to get down to 6g a day by the year 2010.”
At the launch, public health minister Melanie Johnson called for greater commitment from the food and drink industry. “We’re keen to see real progress is made. The 6g target is challenging and we’ve all got to increase our efforts.
“The government welcomes the reductions that the industry has made so far. The task is immense and complex and its success will depend not only on what the government does, but also on securing the support of a wide range of organisations.”
Amy Balchin and Liz Hamson