Good News, Bad News

labelThe government has been in for quite a ride in the last two days: On Monday, several high profile groups rejected the government’s “responsibility deal” on alcohol, leaving only three health groups siding with the government. Today the government then announced a deal with 170 companies (and three health groups) on better labeling and more openess and transparency of food and drink items. The list of companies reads impressive – from KFC to Tesco to Diageo. One could say, well done for achieving this outcome. But this would ignore the question of why some of these retailers are suddenly so eager to join the government (and have been so reluctant in the past). While the threat of legislation may be a strong one – the question is who will actually benefit from this “health programme”. If those charities that are at the forefront of fighting for healthier food and drink choices are to be believed, amongst them Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation, then one has to wonder who will really benefit. Of course, it is way to early to say, and maybe the large (and small) companies are really in for good now – but judging by their past performance, some companies definitely attempted to use loopholes in (self-)regulations before. So the question is, whom do you trust to give you information you really understand?

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