New food regulations proposal: food should be treated the same way as cigarettes

Due to faulty nutrition, encouraged by hectic schedules and advertisement campaigns, obesity has become an alarming issue in today’s society. The concern has prompted international organisations to suggest food should be regulated the same way as the tobacco industry.

Consumers International and the World Obesity Federation, two important international organisations, are requesting that the food industry be regulated with as much severity as cigarettes.

What would the new rules constitute of?

Besides stricter rules about the accepted fat, sugar and salt content in food products, packaging could include pictures that describe the health damage done by obesity, similar to those on cigarettes packs. Junk food TV advertisements during children’s programs would also be restricted.

Why is it important to take action?

The claims are made in the context of a continuously growing risk of obesity in children, as well as adults, who fall victims to misleading packaging, misinformation concerning nutritional value and the lack of physical time to asses and change their diet.

Dr Ian Campbell, clinician and founder of the UK’s National Obesity Forum mentioned that obesity concerns are at their peak and something needs to be done as soon as possible. He also pointed out that the regulation of the food industry is even more stringent than that of tobacco, because cigarettes are optional, whereas food is essential.

How can it be done?

Dr Tim Lobstein at the World Obesity Federation complained about a shocking lack of awareness about the dangers of obesity in modern society. People are aware of its existence, and even the risks it poses, but as it isn’t an immediately life-threatening infectious disease, the interest in setting up a stronger control system isn’t as high as it should be.

He suggests that governments would have to work together and encourage a global change, abandoning the reluctance to take on the major food chains and corporations. The food industry should be legally bound to make sure the food isn’t just edible, but actually healthy.

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