Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH), has claimed that “the government’s voluntary Public Health Responsibility Deal (PHRD) may not yet be dead, but it is certainly in need of intensive care.”
MacGregor noted that “taxes on salt, sugar or fat are not the answer” adding that “the aim of campaigners is not to destroy the food industry, as it was for those campaigning against the tobacco industry.” He does however admit that “if the industry does not respond… there will be regulations.”
MacGregor was highly critical of the former education secretary and has a similar opinion of the new one, quoting him as saying: “With the new minister for health [Anna Soubry] we have set new targets and there’s been a renewed push to say, although this is a voluntary programme, ‘you’ve got to do it’. And Anna Soubry did actually threaten [the food industry] with legislation.” In addition, MacGregor says “salt reduction has been the only really successful part of PHRD,” but claims that much of the credit must go to the Food Standards Agency, which began the campaign before responsibility for nutrition and health was transferred to the Department of Health in 2010.
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