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Action on Salt

Editorial: Industry self-regulation fails to deliver healthier diets, again


Chris Millett, Action on Salt’s member and his colleagues at Imperial College London have written an editorial for the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on the failure of industry self-regulation to improve diets. The editorial explains that industry self-regulation does not work as shown from the little progress in the latest report of the voluntary sugar reduction strategy1. This is compared to having a robust independent regulatory system where targets are set by the Government and progress is monitored publicly. This has been previously demonstrated in the salt reduction programme in the UK demonstrated by the failed responsibility deal2Public Health England’s replacement must take bolder action. 

Click here to read the editorial Industry self-regulation fails to deliver healthier diets, again

Click here to read a written piece on ‘Who should tackle the biggest cause of premature death when PHE is gone?’ by Katharine Jenner, Campaign Director and Mhairi Brown, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Action on Sugar and Action on Salt 

Anthony Laverty (author) says:

“A range of evidence shows that relying on industry to reduce the harms of foods is less effective than an independent and robust regime. With a planned successor to Public Health England, this is a good time to abandon industry self-regulation for a firmer approach”

Katharine Jenner, Campaign Director Action on Sugar and Action on Salt, says:

"The UK has an opportunity to be world-leading again, with the potential of developing and implementing mandated national nutrition improvement measures like the soft drinks industry levy to replace the current voluntary programmes. Improving nutrition is good for individuals, good for the economy and, as we have seen with the sugar levy, can even be good for business. It’s therefore imperative that whoever is responsible for tackling the biggest cause of premature death and disability in the UK when Public Health England is dissolved, prevents disease and not just treats it."

1. Public Health England. Sugar reduction. Report on progress between 2015 and 2019. 2020.

2. MacGregor, Graham A., et al. “Food and the responsibility deal: how the salt reduction strategy was derailed.” BMJ, 2015.



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