The food and drink industry has spent billions undermining existing regulations and derailing new legislation, according to a damning new report published by campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory.
Health policies like upper limits for sugars in processed foods, sugar taxes, and labels that clearly show added sugars have been scuppered by “aggressive” lobbying, CEO claimed in its report, “A spoonful of sugar”.
The group also zooms in on the sector’s “weak” voluntary agreements and highlights a number of cases where industry “sponsors not-so-independent” scientific studies.
“So many independent scientific studies show a clear link between excessive sugar consumption and serious health risks,” explained the report’s co-author Katharine Ainger. “But the fact that there is still no consensus on the dangers of sugar among EU regulators proves just how powerful the food and drink lobby is.”
FoodDrinkEurope, which represents the European food and drink industry, condemned the report as a “complete misrepresentation of facts”.
However, EU Ministers, led by the Dutch presidency, are keen to see member states put plans in place to make food healthier. This includes better guidelines for public procurement.
Efforts to stifle sugar policies have arguably been more successful in Brussels than they have in Westminster. The introduction of a tax on sugary drinks caught many by surprise. But the Food and Drink Federation has already used the “economic fragility” created by Brexit as a reason for delaying the levy.