CBI director general Digby Jones has waded into the debate about the Public Health White Paper - saying that industry should not be blamed by government for unhealthy diets and lifestyles.
Jones said businesses were “under attack from the advancing forces of the nanny state”, and added: “Business has had enough of being used as society’s scapegoat. We need real political leadership on issues such as nutrition, smoking and alcohol consumption, not attempts to shift the burden of responsibility to business.”
Jones said the food industry had worked hard to help consumers understand the risks of an unhealthy lifestyle - but people needed to take responsibility for their choices.
“To address the problem of the blame culture, we need people to stop thinking that they can always rely on government to step in and remove the need for personal responsibility.”
He said that any regulations relating to public health should be enforced in a way that would not damage competition.
Meanwhile, Howard McEvoy, president of the British Frozen Food Federation, told members at its annual lunch that the way forward was through partnership. He said the BFFF would not be bullied into making promises it knew its members could not keep. “Government must realise this will be a long-term process. Playing politics will not achieve positive results,” he said.
McEvoy praised The Grocer’s Junk the Spin campaign for challenging industry as well as government.