50 signatures reached
To: Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive, Public Health England
STOP PROMOTING SWEETENERS TO CHILDREN: LISTEN
1. A review of “Key component of Childhood Obesity Strategy is to promote diet drinks”; a full and open discussion about the issues surrounding artificial sweeteners and children, in particular, considering both possible short-term and long-term effects.
2. Prominent labelling of all foods and drinks containing artificial sweeteners.
3. The right to know whether procurement by food and catering services in schools involves sweeteners and/or undeclared neotame (a concentrated derivative of the sweetener aspartame) or undeclared advantame (a mixture of aspartame and vanillin).
4. Artificially sweetened products NOT to come under the ‘healthy’ banner, which currently makes them more eligible for price promotions than their non-artificially sweetened counterparts.
Why is this important?
1. In August ’16 Government gave a policy statement in relation to the Sugary Drinks Industry Levy that Key component of Childhood Obesity Strategy is to promote diet drinks. It was no.1 in a list of ‘12 Things You Should Know’, published on the government’s news website. The ‘reformulation’ of products, which currently amounts to replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners, was to be extended to other products deemed too high in sugar, regular yoghurts are among the cited foods.
Questions challenging the policy were blocked at the Health Matters Live event in November ’16. Citations of studies and reviews that concluded not enough was known about the safety of sweeteners, were removed from a Wikipedia site on Sugar Taxes.
The effect of the strategy has been an escalation in the use of sweeteners by manufacturers, and it is not immediately clear, when choosing items from the shelves in supermarkets, that sweeteners are being used where once they were not. Products may not be described as ‘diet’ or ‘with sweeteners’, other than in smaller print on the ingredients label. (Neotame and advantame may legitimately be used without any mention on the ingredients label.)
2. In January ’17 a Government Health Report announced that for success there needed to be zero price promotions on ‘unhealthy’ products. To use the same example, regular yoghurts are classed as ‘unhealthy’, artificially sweetened ones as the ‘healthy’ option.
The effect of this move is to limit the affordable choices for poorer families wanting to give their children a healthy balanced diet with less emphasis on sweet things, but with no artificial sweeteners. All have the right to make informed healthy choices.
The right to an informed choice is being eroded. More can be found from this link