Companies unhealthy response21st April 2006
A team of researchers from City University London’s centre for food policy has found that the world’s top 25 food companies do not appear to ‘care a jot’ about their role in improving the global diet.
The researchers analysed companies’ annual reports, accounts and websites to determine whether they were taking any action on the World Health Organization’s global strategy on diet, physical activity and health. The WHO strategy made a series of recommendations to companies on what they could do to tackle the world’s poor diet, as well as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
The researchers said that the investigation turned up ‘worrying’ results; while some companies were reviewing their product ranges in the light of the new health agenda, the majority were not.
Out of the 25 companies investigated only 10 reported they were taking action on salt, five reported taking action on sugar, and only four reported taking action on fat. Less than half of the companies had policy statements on obesity or a policy commitment to produce a healthier range of products.
Prof Tim Lang, one of the report authors said that the findings of the report suggest the world’s food companies are not yet fully engaged with the seriousness and urgency of the demands to tackle diet-related ill health. He warned that 'a lukewarm response from food companies to the enormity of the public health evidence amassed by the WHO and researchers risks engendering some cynicism’.
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