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Health drive 'too reliant' on voluntary agreements

Government efforts to tackle obesity and improve public health are “overly reliant” on voluntary agreements with the food industry, a report has warned.

Which? consumer group says major food firms are still failing to display the calorie content of their products, or reduce the amount of salt in their foods, despite the launch of the public health “responsibility deal” one year ago.

But Westminster Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the Government had shown “real leadership” in seeking to improve public health while avoiding regulation for food companies and the alcohol industry.

The Which? report, Responsibility Deal: One Year On, says only two of the country's top 10 restaurant and pub groups have agreed to display the calorie content of their products.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “The Government relies too much on voluntary deals with industry rather than showing real leadership.”

The British Retail Consortium said more groups should be encouraged to sign up, but stressed that improving public health was a “long-term issue”.

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