The government is set to delay a ban on ‘buy one free’ offers for unhealthy food items due to unprecedented pressure on living standards.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said that the planned ban on multi-purchase promotions on foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) is postponed for a year to October 2023. A ban on TV ads for HFSS products before a 9 p.m. turnaround and on paid online ads are also delayed for 12 months and will now come into effect in January 2024.
Officials said the postponement of the buy one, get one free (Bogof) ban was to give ministers a chance to assess the impact on household finances amid intense concern over the reduction in the cost of living. However, health campaigners reacted with dismay to the news, accusing Boris Johnson of playing politics with children’s health.
Read more: Meal deals should be ‘illegal’ at Tesco, M&S, ASDA, Boots, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, experts say
Public Health Minister Maggie Throup insisted they remained committed to tackling the problem of childhood obesity. We are committed to doing everything we can to help people live healthier lives, she said.
The suspension of restrictions on offers such as buy one, get one free will allow us to understand its impact on consumers in light of an unprecedented global economic situation.
However, Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar and Action on Salt, said the delays completely contradicted the government’s upgrade programme. Boris Johnson could have left a legacy of being the first prime minister to tackle obesity in a meaningful way, in particular by restricting the advertising and promotion of unhealthy foods which were his flagship policies, he said. declared.
Instead, he gave in to his own MPs and an aggressive food industry who, ironically, were beginning to comply with these new policies.
Barbara Crowther of the Childrens Food Campaign said the government should act faster on the Bogof agreements, without delaying or dithering. Obesity is skyrocketing and millions of families cannot afford to eat properly. Multi-buy offers encourage people to spend more on junk food and less on healthy food, she said.
This delay threatens the UK’s goal of halving childhood obesity by 2030. Boris is playing politics with the health of our children.
For Labour, Shadow Public Health Minister Andrew Gwynne said: Boris Johnson’s desperation to cling to his job means the ideology of Tory MPs is being put above children’s health. Instead of reducing childhood obesity, preventing ill health and easing pressure on the NHS, this chaotic government is making another U-turn.
The DHSC said restrictions on the placement of less healthy products in stores and supermarkets will still come into effect in October 2022 as planned. Last month, calorie labeling laws in large restaurants, cafes and takeaways came into effect.
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