Man who helped formulate policy accuses Health Secretary of ‘dereliction of duty’ over Britain’s obesity epidemic
Andrew Lansley is guilty of a “dereliction of duty” for failing to tackle Britain’s growing obesity epidemic, one of his former public health advisers warns today.
In an interview with The Independent Professor Simon Capewell, who served on the Health Secretary’s Public Health Commission in opposition, accuses Mr Lansley of conniving with the food industry and ignoring scientific evidence on obesity.
And he warns that the Government’s plan to “work together” with manufacturers to introduce voluntary cuts to fat, sugar and salt levels in food as like “putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank”.
Professor Capewell, a leading expert on effects of diet on cardiovascular disease and a member of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges committee on obesity, said he had lost faith in the ability of Mr Lansley to take on the food industry.
“Andrew Lansley, in my opinion, is guilty of a gross dereliction of duty in relation to public health,” he said. “He has actually moved Britain back in terms of public health from where we were before he was elected. He has officiated over a responsibility deal which is a pantomime – and has been a huge public relations coup for the industry.”
Under the Government’s plan, launched in March last year, companies are supposed to voluntarily help to improve the health of the nation by labelling food in restaurants with calorie counts and reduce saturated fat, salt and sugar in products. But earlier this year Which? found only a handful of the top 10 restaurants and pub groups had agreed to provide calorie information on menus with many well-known brands such as Pizza Express, Café Rouge and Strada failing to sign up.