TOUGHER FOOD regulation and food equality is expected in the UK if Labour is elected next year.
During a debate on ‘Making an affordable nutritious food system accessible to all’ at last month’s Food Matters show in London, Debbie Abrahams, a member of the shadow health team has revealed some of the likely areas of focus in Labour’s paper on public health.
Successive ministers have previously rejected taxes on foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) and now Labour is preparing for a stricter approach, such as local planning controls over fast food outlets’ marketing of HFSS products.
Debbie Abrahams says: “There is a lot more we must be doing around food labelling, but also the potential for regulation around levels of sugar, fat and salt for foods particularly being marketed at children.”
In addition, food inequality is a major issue; the rise in obesity, cardiovascular disease, and the subsequent health costs are linked to the fact that poorer people are known to spend disproportional amounts in HFSS foods.
Debbie Abrahams added: “Since 2010 there is increasing poverty and there are more people in work in poverty now.
“On top of the food and fuel price increases, there have also been a disproportionate increase in the cost of health reforms.”
There is also a large number of people hugely dependant of food banks and Abrahams commented that more responsibility should be given to local Health and Wellbeing Boards as a way of reducing health inequalities.
While both the Conservatives and Labour are against controlling levels of HFSS with taxation, Rosie Boycott, chair of The London Food Board, and Martin Caraher, Professor of Food and Social Policy, were strongly in favour.