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Health campaigners call for calorie levy; Action on Salt and Action on Sugar want a calorie levy on processed foods.

Byline: CHRISTIAN FULLER

Health campaigners are calling on the government to introduce a calorie levy on processed foods.

Campaign groups Action on Sugar and Action on Salt have urged the government to add a levy to calorie-dense processed foods that meet an agreed criteria set by ministers. The levy would be similar to the current UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy, and force manufacturers to pay a levy to the government on certain products. It is hoped the move, designed to tackle childhood obesity, diabetes and cancer, would encourage manufacturers to create less calorific snacks.

Action on Sugar and Action on Salt chairman Graham MacGregor said: "The UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy has been remarkable and unique in that it allows for significant product reformulation by manufacturers in order to avoid paying the levy. This has already resulted in a much bigger reduction of sugar content of drinks in the UK than anticipated, as well as ring-fencing PS340m of income directly from manufacturers, not the public, to spend on improving children's health.

"The same could be achieved in creating a levy to reduce excess calories, but we need a firm commitment from HM Treasury and The Department of Health and Social Care to make this a reality and to implement a robust evaluation system to fill in the evidence gaps. This levy should be invested back in a much more comprehensive approach to prevent obesity in children."

Action on Sugar and Action on Salt campaign director Katharine Jenner added: "Manufacturers are simply not doing enough. A feasibility study needs to be undertaken without delay."

CAPTION(S):

The nutritional value of processed foods such as ready meals is likely to come under the spotlight

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Convenience Store
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 23, 2019
Words:282
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