The Department of Health has been slammed by Food and Drink Federation president Gavin Neath for failing to work with the industry to improve the health of the nation.
Neath said the industry had a good track record of engaging with government and its agencies - even if they did not always see eye to eye.
“But there is one big lacuna in our links with government,” he said, “We have yet to build a really effective relationship with the DoH. This is a problem. If the good intentions of the Health White Paper are to be translated into action, then like it or not, the food industry will need to be involved.”
He added: “A good example is the recently published Food and Health Action plan. This document makes several references to the DoH working
with industry to find solutions. As of today we have no mechanisms for doing this. Unless these are put in place soon we have little chance of meeting the deadlines that government have set out.”
Neath said the industry shared the government’s ambition to improve nutritional standards. But he warned: “In working towards this objective the industry should not be regarded as an obstacle to be circumvented but there as a willing ally. We look forward to establishing with government as a whole (and DoH in particular) a close, productive partnership.”
Neath was speaking at the FDF’s Community Partnership awards, where accolades were presented to Cadbury Trebor Bassett, Midland Co-op Dairies and Midland Co-operative Society, Tate & Lyle, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, HJ Heinz, Nestlé and General Mills.
Amy Balchin