Food Inc Food Corporations in charge of government nutritional policy
Research into obesity receives hundreds of thousands of pounds of funding from the junk food industry, report reveals
By SOPHIE BORLAND HEALTH CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 23:29, 11 February 2015 | UPDATED: 15:46, 12 February 2015
Experts advising ministers on obesity are being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by the junk food industry, an investigation has found.
Key scientists behind policies aimed at encouraging the public to eat a healthier diet have been given vast sums for their research by the likes of Coca Cola, Nestle and Mars.
The revelations prompted concerns that ‘cosy deals’ are deterring ministers from enforcing tough limits on sugar and fat.
Scandal: Key scientists behind policies aimed at encouraging the public to eat a healthier diet have been given vast sums for their research by the likes of Coca Cola, Nestle and Mars, it has emerged
At the same time, Britons are consuming more calories than ever – proof the Government’s obesity strategy is failing, the report concludes.
The average household calorie consumption has risen by 12 per cent since 2006. Sugar rose by 11 per cent and fat by 12 per cent.
One in four adults is considered dangerously overweight, and for children the figure is one in five.
The Government’s flagship strategy hinges on arrangements with food and drinks firms to voluntarily cut levels of sugar and fat.
But this Responsibility Deal policy, introduced in 2011, has been likened to ‘putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank’ by charities, while doctors argue obesity can only be properly tackled if firms are forced by law to make products healthier.
The investigation by the BMJ found the scientist overseeing the strategy, Professor Susan Jebb, received £194,652 for a clinical trial by Coca-Cola between 2008 and 2010.
The investigation by the BMJ found the scientist overseeing the strategy, Professor Susan Jebb (pictured) received £194,652 for a clinical trial by Coca-Cola between 2008 and 2010
In total, she has been given £1.37million towards her research since 2004 from firms including Nestle cereals, Sainsbury’s and Unilever, whose brands include Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Walls ice cream.
Professor Jebb was appointed the Government’s adviser on obesity in 2011 by former health secretary Andrew Lansley, who also disbanded the existing group of experts who had been very critical of the Responsibility Deal.
The investigation also found scientists working for the Government’s Human Nutrition Research Unit, which aims to reduce obesity, received funding from the food industry averaging £250,000 a year. They include Dr Ravin Jugdaohsingh who was given £58,248 from Coca-Cola.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, a consultant cardiologist and director of campaign group Action On Sugar, said: ‘The public would be appalled to learn that scientists advising them how much sugar to consume have financial ties to the sugar industry. The responsibility deal has been a complete failure.’
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: ‘It is legislation, not cosy deals, which we need to tackle this crisis.’
But other scientists insisted the food industry did not influence their research nor advice, even if it paid for it.
Professor Jebb added: ‘Everything I do, whether in my research or as chair of the responsibility deal, is to try to improve public health.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2949857/Whitehall-anti-obesity-advisers-paid-huge-fees-junk-food-companies-Concerns-cosy-deals-deterring-ministers-enforcing-tough-limits-fat-sugar.html#ixzz3Rwveiu00
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