THE Co-operative Group has welcomed the publication of the Commons Health Select Committee report on obesity, but warns that to rely on voluntary action from the food industry may not deliver the improvements expected in food labelling and advertising practices.
The Group has been campaigning since 1986 for industry-wide acceptance of its high, medium and low descriptors for the nutritional content of supermarket products ? even when they are high in fat, sugar and salt ? but the industry has failed to take on board such measures despite the obvious benefits for consumers.
In 2000, the Co-op Group also introduced a ban on television advertising during children's TV of products that were likely to contribute to unhealthy diets and called on others to act. Again, the industry has been intransigent.
David Croft, head of Co-op brand, commented: `The recommendations from the Health Select Committee reinforces what we have been saying to our industry peers for more than a decade.
`Now is the time for action, but if the Government wants a voluntary approach to work it will have to overcome the self-interest of the food industry in the interests of the consumer.`
The Committee's report strongly commended the Co-op's nutrition panels and described Co-op's labelling as a whole as `exemplary in comparison with what most supermarkets managed.`