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New Report Questions Effectiveness of Food Responsibility Deal
A new study by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which was funded by the Department of Health, has criticised the government’s responsibility deal which was aimed at boosting public health by improving diet. Published in the Food Policy journal, the study concludes that; “The current nature and formulation of the responsibility deal food pledges is that such pledge implementation is unlikely to have much effect on nutrition-related health in England.”
Originally introduced in 2011 by Andrew Lansley, Health Secretary at the time, the responsibility deal has relied increasingly on pledges from large manufacturers to provide information, raise awareness and communicate with consumers; steps that the study authors claim may have limited effect.
Researchers point to the fact that the number of calories in products bought to eat at home rose by 12% between 2006 and 2014, while sales of sugary foodstuffs rose by 11% are an indication that the initiative wasn’t effective. Malcolm Clark, Coordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign, told The Guardian: “This damning assessment of the current responsibility deal cuts through the Department of Health’s spin and shows up the initiative for what it is: more about positive PR for companies than effective, evidence-based new interventions to improve our diets.”
In March a similar independent study concluded that the responsibility deal had also had limited impact on alcohol consumption.