According to the declaration by the UK government, the calorie content of pizzas, chips, crisps and other unhealthy foods cherished by Britons must be trimmed quickly to minimize the cases of obesity.
Fast food takeaways, cafes and restaurants have been urged to cut down the calorific content of the delicacies they sell, by 20% till 2024, considering obesity as a serious epidemic.
Public Health England (PHE) has disclosed a series of targets for reducing calorie which are anticipated to be fulfilled within four years by both supermarkets and out of home food outlets. It typifies the effort of the organization to convince the food industry to redesign its products making use of fat, salt and sugar in lower quantities and allow people to lead a healthier life.
As per the PHE guidelines, pizzas and pastry products should be made 20% less calorific irrespective of whether they are bought to be eaten at the cafe, taken away or to be delivered at home.
Fish, chips and anything else that can be considered as a main meal should also be made 20% less calorific, but frozen chips from supermarkets should see a smaller dip of just 10%. Besides, no main meal should have calorie content exceeding 1,345 calories, PHE advised.
PHE, a part of the Department of Health and Social Care is probably getting abolished in March, has an ambition to make children’s food 10% less calorific by 2024.
Ready meals and garlic bread should contain 10% less calorie, while a 5% reduction target has been decided for savory snacks, crisps, and sandwiches.
Jo Churchill, the Public Health Minister said-“We can all do our part to stay healthy, to help save us from Corona virus and take pressure off the NHS. The food industry can play their role by making it as easier for everyone to eat more healthily.”
Health groups, however, mocked the fact that these goals are only voluntary. “The sooner we get mandatory targets, rather than an expectation that industry will make its own calorie reductions, the sooner obesity will get eliminated. Industry’s utmost thought is of profits and is only pretending to think of health issues,” declared Tam Fry, Chairman of the National Obesity Forum. Earlier, evidence clearly reveals this, wherein, officials desired to see 20% less sugary products by 2020, but by 2018 food industry had trimmed only 2.9% of sugar on an average.
The Obesity Health Alliance, a union of over 40 health groups, stated that firms and outlets which do not follow PHE’s new guidelines should be penalized. It appealed ministers to expand the principle of the sugar tax to foodstuffs generally to motivate manufacturers to reformulate their products into healthier ones.
Caroline Cerny, the head of Alliance pronounced-“We know from sugar reduction efforts that a regulatory approach, such as the soft drinks industry levy, has been much more fruitful in getting the food industry to cut down sugar than the voluntary schemes. Therefore, we want the government to make it absolutely clear that they will bring in similar mandatory rules if companies don’t follow the targets on their own.
Tim Rycroft, Chief Operating Officer at the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) representing food manufacturers told that they require some more time to achieve this target of a 10% decrement in calories.
He also added- “Our commitment to the cause must not be disbelieved. FDF members’ products now serve 11% lesser calories, 11% low sugars and 14% less salt on an average as compared to four years ago.”