Britain Solicits Big Business Food & Beverage To Attack Public Health Issues

Love to Eat| The Guardian reports that the UK Department of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has set up five “responsibility deal” networks with business, co-chaired by ministers, to come up with policies that advance public health in Britain.

This puts companies like McDonald’s, KFC, PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Mars and Diageo “at the heart of writing government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease”.

The initiative is being highly criticized, given any lack of significant past leadership by business to attack Britain’s burgeoning health problems, which are almost identical to those in the US. Alternatively, from our point of view, handing business a list of regulations will only tie up the court systems.

From a business perspective, it does seem that the public health and corporate revenues are diametically opposed, certainly in the case of the cigarette companies. Today’s New York Times writes that cigarette companies are escalating their fights against any more global regulations at a time when many countries, including the US, are tackling packaging, labeling and marketing issues with increased restrictions.