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BDA Condemns Government U-turn on Restricting Unhealthy Food Promotions

The BDA has joined other organisations in calling on the Government to reconsider withdrawing its promise to restrict promotions on food and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) later this year.

Along with a number of other organisations including the Obesity Health Alliance, BDA CEO Andy Burman has signed a joint letter to Boris Johnson to reconsider his decision to delay restrictions.

The Department of Health and Social Care announced that rules banning multibuy deals on HFSS foods and drinks – including ‘buy one get one free’, ‘3 for 2’, and restrictions on free refills for soft drinks – will be delayed for a year. The restrictions banning HFSS adverts on TV before 9pm and paid-for adverts online will also be paused for a year, meaning they won’t come into force until January 2024.

BDA CEO Andy Burman said: “In the middle of a public health epidemic, the Government’s U-turn on restricting promotions on HFSS food and drinks in retailers (a key element of the obesity strategy) is short-sighted and will not address the issues raised by the Government in its rationale.

“The BDA echoes the sentiments of Lord Hague who described the decision as ‘intellectually shallow, politically weak and morally reprehensible’.

“Tackling economic challenges facing those on low income should be dealt with through the support this Government could, and should, be offering. Tackling growing health challenges is something successive Governments have failed to deliver on. This Government had one of the best opportunities to make progress on childhood obesity and start the long journey of addressing health inequalities, but has let the public down again.

“After confirming that promotions on HFSS foods in retailers would be restricted from October 2022, the Government has withdrawn its promise, and we strongly urge it to consider reversing this damaging decision.”

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