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Sunday 20th May 2018

Government's report card

9th March 2007

A leading consumer watchdog has accused the government of ‘underachieving’ in its healthy eating policies.


Which? rated the government’s efforts and achievements in four main areas of the promotion of healthy eating and found that despite good endeavours ministers had actually achieved little. Which? said it particularly wanted to see more action on the advertising of unhealthy foods to children. The watchdog expressed "extreme disappointment" at the government's attempts to ban advertising of junk foods to youngsters and awarded just 5/10 for effort and 3/10 for achievement. Adverts for unhealthy foods are still shown on television when children under 16 are likely to be watching.

The government scored more highly when it came to the simplification of food labelling achieving 9/10 for effort. However, as several food manufacturers have failed to adopt the traffic light labelling system, Which? awarded the government just 6/10 for achievement in this area. According to the watchdog the government’s biggest success has been in the area of school meals; ministers received 10/10 for effort and 7/10 for achievement in trying to introduce healthier meals in schools.

Which? chief policy adviser Sue Davies said, "Although the government is trying hard, it is still underachieving and failing to reach its own targets. School meals are the star pupil but we need real progress in the other areas.? However, public health minister Caroline Flint responded by saying, “We are disappointed this report fails to acknowledge the complexity of the issue or the progress made across the range of issues.?

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