How food giants sweet talk ministers: Sugar campaigners' fears over 'secret stitch-up' meetings
The food industry lobby has been given unprecedented access to the heart of government, a Daily Mail investigation has found.
Fast food companies, supermarkets, restaurant chains and chocolate and fizzy drinks firms have had dozens of meetings with ministers.
... Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: ‘These meetings are an example of how the industry has a charmed route into the corridors of power that is denied to everyone else."
This bears an uncanny resemblance to the Daily Mail's story of January 8th...
Anger at 'shabby truth' of meetings between ministers and drinks industry in weeks before minimum alcohol pricing was axed
David Cameron today faced claims the government caved in to pressure from the drinks industry to ditch plans to impose minimum alcohol pricing.
Ministers met drinks firms, trade bodies and supermarkets dozens of times before dropping the policy last year.
Tory MP Sarah Wollaston said condemned the ‘shabby truth’ which had emerged while Labour accused the Prime Minister of ‘cosying up to vested interests’.
The first story is pretty much a carbon copy of the second, but with the word 'drinks' replaced with 'food'. Public health lobbyists know a good template when they see one.
The same comments can be made of both these 'stories'.
1. The food industry is made up of many different companies, all of which deserve to have meetings with the government.
2. Many of the 'health groups' have thrown their toys out of the pram and walked out of the government's Responsibility Deal and have therefore resigned their seat at the table.
3. The meetings were not 'secret', hence the Daily Mail being able to get the details of them by simply asking.
4. Unless we know how many meetings have been held between the government and the 'health groups', we have no way of knowing whether there is an imbalance of access. Neither last month's BMJ hatchet job on the alcohol industry nor today's pisspoor (and yet front page) investigation at the Mail gives us these figures.
I would be very interested to know how many meetings the National Obesity Forum, the UK Faculty of Public Health, Action on Sugar, the Royal College of Physicians, the British Medical Association and all the other authoritarian special interest groups have held with ministers but
The idea that the food industry has exceptional access while the 'health groups' are left out in the cold is ridiculous, as unwittingly demonstrated by the anti-sugar clown Aseem Malhotra when he pointed his Twitter followers towards the Mail's story earlier today.
Front page Daily Mail! Food giants 'sweet talk' ministers. One for public health when I meet Jeremy Hunt tonight!http://t.co/hNExTI4gkI
— Dr Aseem Malhotra (@DrAseemMalhotra) February 3, 2014