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Soft drinks industry takes responsible approach

Nuala McKeever wonders (Life, August 29) whether profit and good public health can coexist.

But ask yourself this question: would you buy food and drink from a company that was struggling to stay in business, that was taking short cuts in the quality of its ingredients, in the thoroughness of its monitoring, or in its attentiveness to hygiene? Of course you wouldn't.

Food and drink manufacturers, as much as and probably more than businesses in any other industry, have got to make sure that their products are consistently high quality. A company that cannot guarantee this will lose customers and go out of business.

In the last 20 years, the proportion of the soft-drinks market that contains no added sugar has doubled to more than 60%. This is what consumers want to buy, so this is what the soft-drinks industry has to make. It's not the other way round.

In addition to the products, the soft-drinks industry also acts responsibly by providing a wide choice in calorie content and pack size and giving clear information on the label about the ingredients and nutritional content of each product.

The route to good health lies in an active lifestyle and a balanced diet - there is no shortcut or secret formula.

A responsible industry can help people make the right decisions about what to eat and drink, but it cannot take those decisions on the public's behalf.

RICHARD LAMING

British Soft Drinks Association, London

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