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Food industry ‘needs to be regulated’

Food industry ‘needs to be regulated’

According to two global food industry groups, the sector needs to be regulated in a similar way to that of tobacco for the sake of the public's health.

This is the opinion of Consumers International and the World Obesity Federation, who believe introducing further regulations for the food industry could have long-term benefits for people's health, potentially lowering their risk of developing obesity and other problems.

Speaking to Food Navigator, Dr Tim Lobstein from the World Obesity Federation commented: "If obesity was an infectious disease, we would have seen billions of dollars being invested in bringing it under control.

"But because obesity is largely caused by the over consumption of fatty and sugary foods, we have seen policy-makers unwilling to take on the corporate interests who promote these foods."

Statistics show the number of deaths across the world caused by obesity-related conditions or put down to people being overweight increased from 2.6 million in 2005, to approximately 3.4 million in 2010.

To help reduce this figure, the campaign groups would like to see lower levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat being used in food products, with significantly stricter advertising rules being introduced, for example to prevent children being exposed to the promotion of junk food during the breaks of family-friendly television programmes.

There are also calls for artificial trans fats to be banned from all food and drinks within the next five years in another bid to improve the health of consumers.

In addition, the sector could take inspiration from the smoking industry and begin to include images of obesity-related damage on the packaging of fatty foods, in a similar way to how pictures of unhealthy lungs are featured on cigarette packets.

Consumers International and the World Obesity Federation are calling on governments around the world to consider introducing such measures, reviewing food prices, changing licensing rules and potentially putting high taxes on unhealthy foods in a bid to stop people purchasing them and running the risk of becoming overweight.


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