SALT LINKED to obesity in new study. (Small) bonus for female workers. Blow for minimum price deal on alcohol. Be careful with burgers. Pop star’s plea on climate change.
Salt in the spotlight
CONSIDERABLE PROGRESS has been made to reduce the consumption of salt, but the ingredient isn’t off the hook just yet. New analysis published in the journal Hypertension suggests a direct link between salt intake and obesity. “A one gram per day increase was associated with an increase in the risk of obesity by 28% in children and 26% in adults,” the researchers noted. Report author Professor Graham MacGregor from Queen Mary University, who is also chairman of Consensus Action on Salt & Health, said voluntary action to reduce intakes was not working. “Unfortunately the previous government handed power back to the food industry with the Responsibility Deal which has completely failed to tackle these issues in the way that it needs to be,” he said.
Living wage study
THE NEW living wage will benefit 3.7 million women and 2.3 million men by 2020. According to the Resolution Foundation, this will only have a modest impact on the gender pay gap however. The government recently announced plans to introduce the revised mandatory minimum wage of £7.20 by April 2016. This will rise to £9 by the end of the decade. The policy did not go down well in the hospitality sector.
Alcohol price plans in tatters
SCOTLAND’S PLANS to introduce a minimum price for alcohol appear to be dead in the water after the European Court of Justice advocate general suggested the proposals could infringe free trade rules in the EU. Yves Bot said the scheme could only work if the Scottish Government could show no other approach would be as effective in delivering the health goals. Increased taxation would be a more suitable measure, he suggested – however, those powers lie with Westminster and not Holyrood. Minimum unit pricing was passed unopposed by Scottish Parliament in 2012. In England the government toyed with the idea, but scrapped it in 2013 citing lack of evidence. A formal decision is expected from the ECJ in the next six months.
Be aware of rare
THE FOOD Standards Agency has published new guidance for caterers on the preparation of rare (pink) burgers. The FSA’s long-standing advice has been that burgers should be “cooked thoroughly until they are steaming hot throughout, the juices run clear and there is no pink meat left inside”. However, acknowledging the rise in popularity of rare gourmet burgers in food outlets the FSA has adapted its advice accordingly.
Celebrity climate change
SINGER CHARLOTTE Church has been campaigning against drilling for oil in the Arctic. In a (perhaps) surprisingly astute and honest article for the Guardian she explains: “What I think perplexes me the most when people get wrathful at celebrities campaigning is that they don’t react that way when a celebrity is being paid to endorse a product. I mean, if I have to see a cutesy bit of yoghurt on the end of Nicole Scherzinger’s cutesy bloody nose just one more time … How many of our nation’s most beloved actors have uttered the words ‘every little helps’? Is Tesco more worthy than Greenpeace? I can’t speak with too much sanctimony. I did similar things years ago. So criticise me for cashing a cheque from Walkers, but not for defending the people’s planet.” Fair point, well made (and there are others in there too).