Review of anti-obesity policies prompts concerns junk food plans could be axed

·2-min read
(Philip Toscano/PA) (PA Archive)
(Philip Toscano/PA) (PA Archive)

The Government is reviewing its anti-obesity strategy, with reports that plans to tackle junk food could be scrapped by Liz Truss.

Such a move would be likely to prompt major concerns from health campaigners and would mark a key break with some of the priorities under Boris Johnson’s government.

It could also precipitate a clash with some MPs within the Tory party.

According to reports, a review of anti-obesity policy could lead to the new Prime Minister’s Government lifting the ban on sugary products being displayed at checkouts, as well as “buy-one-get-one-free” deals in shops.

The Guardian, which first reported the story, also suggested that restrictions on the advertising of some products before the watershed on TV could be dropped.

It is understood that the Government commissioned the internal review, which is not tied to any specific department, as a response to the economic woes facing the UK and countries around the world.

During the race to become Tory leader, Ms Truss had signalled that some of the Government’s anti-obesity policies could be in her sights as she campaigned to win the votes of grassroots members.

Sources told the Guardian that the review was focused on being “deregulatory”, with the Government expected to cut some of the anti-obesity policies previously backed by the Johnson administration.

His government had been set to axe multi-buy promotions on foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) by the end of October.

But this was pushed back to October next year while other anti-obesity measures, such as a ban on TV adverts for HFSS food and drink before a 9pm watershed, were also delayed.

In response, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver presented an Eton Mess outside Downing Street to protest against Government inaction.