The problem of industry making “pledges” and “commitments” it doesn’t live up to is not just a phenomenon in the United States.
In the United Kingdom, this past Sunday’s Telegraph featured a news article detailing how “food companies signed up to the Government’s flagship “healthy eating” pledge have failed to reduce the amount of sugar in some of their best-known brands. The sugar and overall calorie levels in products such as Coca-Cola and Magnum ice creams have remained the same despite their manufacturers promising to help customers to “eat and drink fewer calories.”
The brands in question are the usual Big Food players — the same companies who help fund the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (and the same companies the Academy claims to be proud to partner with and holds up as paragons of virtue.)
- “After the Department of Health published its annual update on the Responsibility Deal last week, Jane Ellison, the public health minister, congratulated the food companies involved on their “successes”. But The Telegraph’s survey of action taken under the deal found that Coca-Cola has reduced the amount of sugar in drinks such as Sprite but left its flagship drink untouched. The firm behind Wall’s and Ben & Jerry’s ice creams has reduced the number of calories in “children’s ice creams” but not in ordinary ranges; Nestlé has cut the calories in Aero and white KitKat Chunky bars but not in ordinary milk chocolate KitKats.”
- “Kawther Hashem, a nutritionist for Action on Sugar said: “Examples such as these show the Responsibility Deal’s calorie pledge is completely ineffectual.”
- “Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist and Action on Sugar’s science director, said the findings suggested food firms was simply paying “lip service” to the government by signing up to the calorie pledge. “This investigation by the Telegraph has exposed what a farce the responsibility deal really is and further substantiates why we cannot allow the food industry to have a say in health policy,” he added.”