Obese consumers could soon start issuing US-style lawsuits against suppliers over health claims, a law firm has warned.
Baker & McKenzie solicitor Duncan Reid-Thomas said that although charges of causing obesity have yet to be brought in the UK, media coverage and the government’s prioritisation of obesity and nutrition issues could open the floodgates.
In the firm’s Annual Product Liability report, Reid-Thomas adds that as long as consumers have knowledge of the risks of a product and can “exercise a free will in consuming foods high in salt, fat and sugar”, there would be limited opportunity for them to prove negligence.
However, free choice would be undermined if relevant information or an addictive quality were concealed through inaccurate labelling.
Reid-Thomas said: “The food and advertising industries must act to improve the content, labelling and advertising of food products if they wish to avoid more formal regulation and, ultimately, litigation.”
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