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Junk meals: Ministers to delay ban on multi-buy offers

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The authorities is to delay a ban on multi-buy offers for junk meals and pre-watershed TV promoting as households wrestle with the price of living.

The Department of Health stated the plans might be deferred for a 12 months whereas officers assess the impression on family funds.

It stated curbs on junk meals placement in shops would nonetheless go forward in October.

But well being campaigners have accused the PM of “playing politics” with youngsters’s well being.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) stated the deliberate ban on “buy one get one free” (Bogof) offers for meals and drinks excessive in fats, salt or sugar (HFSS) in addition to free refills for delicate drinks, could be placed on maintain for 12 months, till October 2023.

Plans to limit TV promoting of junk meals earlier than the 21:00 GMT watershed and paid-for on-line adverts are additionally being paused for a 12 months and won’t come into pressure till January 2024, the division added.

Laws requiring giant eating places, cafes and takeaways to record energy on their menus got here into pressure final month.

Public Health Minister Maggie Throup insisted that the federal government remained dedicated to tackling the difficulty of childhood weight problems.

“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,” she added.

However, well being campaigners have criticised delays to the plans, and accused Boris Johnson’s authorities of failing to sort out childhood weight problems.

Prof Graham MacGregor, a heart specialist at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar, stated the delays contradicted the federal 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 stated.

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

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Meanwhile, Barbara Crowther, of the Children’s Food Campaign, stated ministers must be urgently curbing multi-buy provides as a substitute of “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 stated.

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

Labour’s shadow well being minister Andrew Gwynne stated: “Instead of cutting childhood obesity, preventing ill-health and easing pressure on the NHS, this chaotic government is performing another U-turn.”

But trade physique the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) argues that it “makes sense” to delay restrictions on multi-buy offers as households and producers wrestle with “high inflation”.

Kate Halliwell, the FDF’s chief scientific officer, additionally welcomed the delay to the promoting ban, saying it might give the trade time to arrange for a change within the regulation.

When the federal government unveiled the deliberate curbs, a few of the UK’s largest meals firms, together with Britvic, Kellogg’s and Mars, criticised them as “disproportionate” and missing proof.

Last month, Kellogg’s stated it might take the federal government to court docket over the curbs stopping some cereals from being positioned in key places in shops resulting from their excessive sugar content material.

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