Ban on BOGOFs for unhealthy food items delayed by ministers

The Government is to delay a ban on buy-one-get-one-free offers for unhealthy meals merchandise because of the “unprecedented” squeeze on residing requirements.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) mentioned the deliberate bar on multi-buy promotions on meals and drinks excessive in fats, salt, or sugar (HFSS) is being put again a yr to October 2023. A ban on TV adverts for HFSS merchandise earlier than a 9pm watershed and on paid-for adverts on-line can be being delayed by 12 months and can now come into impact in January 2024.

Officials mentioned the deferral of the buy-one-get-one-free (Bogof) ban was to provide ministers an opportunity to evaluate the influence on family funds amid intense concern over the cost-of-living squeeze. However, well being campaigners reacted with dismay to the information, accusing Boris Johnson of “playing politics” with kids’s well being.

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Public Health Minister Maggie Throup insisted they remained decided to deal with the problem of childhood weight problems. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to help people live healthier lives,” she mentioned.

“Pausing restrictions on deals like 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 drugs at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar and Action on Salt, mentioned the delays utterly contradicted the Government’s “levelling up” agenda. “Boris Johnson could have left a legacy of being the first Prime Minister to address obesity in a meaningful way, particularly in restricting advertising and promotion of unhealthy food which were his flagship policies,” he mentioned.

“Instead, he has given in to his own MPs, and an aggressive food industry, who, ironically, were starting to comply with these new policies.”

Barbara Crowther, of the Children’s Food Campaign, mentioned the Government must be shifting sooner on Bogof offers, not “delaying and dithering”. “Obesity is spiking and millions of families can’t afford to put proper food on the table. Multi-buy offers make people spend more on junk, and less on healthy food,” she mentioned.

“This delay threatens the UK target to halve childhood obesity by 2030. Boris is playing politics with our children’s health.”

For Labour, shadow public well being minister Andrew Gwynne mentioned: “Boris Johnson’s desperation to cling onto his job means the ideology of Conservative MPs is being placed above children’s health. Instead of cutting childhood obesity, preventing ill-health and easing pressure on the NHS, this chaotic government is performing another U-turn.”

The DHSC mentioned restrictions on the position of much less wholesome merchandise in shops and supermarkets will nonetheless come into power in October 2022 as deliberate.

Last month, legal guidelines on calorie labelling in giant eating places, cafes and takeaways got here into power.

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