Consuming issues

Consuming issues

In a regular column, just-food contributing editor Ben Cooper chews over how the industry is tackling issues from obesity to labelling and from child labour to its environmental impact.



Why Campbell's move on GMOs is savvy 14 Jan 2016

The decision by Campbell Soup Co. to back nationwide mandatory labelling of the genetically modified ingredients in food on sale in the US, Ben Cooper writes, is more about the merits and importance of greater transparency than it is about the pros and cons of GM itself.


The food industry’s vital role in realising COP21 vision 17 Dec 2015

The COP21 agreement marks the start of a huge concerted effort in which the food industry will have a leading role to play, Ben Cooper writes.


What could be the benefits of US approval of GM salmon? 30 Nov 2015

The US Food and Drug Administration's decision to approve AquaBounty Technologies' AquAdvantage salmon for consumption in the country sees the collision of two highly controversial subjects, namely aquaculture and genetic modification.


Why industry should engage after Public Health England sugar report 27 Oct 2015

With suspicion of so-called Big Food at an all-time high, the food industry needs to be proactive in its response to Public Health England's report on sugar. Ben Cooper highlights ways manufacturers could show positive engagement.


Why decision on US dietary guidelines is missed opportunity 12 Oct 2015

The US Dietary Guidelines of Americans are reviewed every five years because they are expected to evolve in response to scientific progress and recent years have seen fundamental changes in how the sustainability of the food supply and diet is viewed. Environmental criteria are too important to be ignored. Ben Cooper argues the US government has erred by not including environmental factors in the latest advice.


How latest trans fat studies show complexity of health debate 29 Sep 2015

Two pieces of research in Europe on trans fat underline the complexity of dietary science and, therefore, the formulation of product development strategies and public health messages. Ben Cooper reports.


Consuming issues: The war on child labour in cocoa is far from won 5 Aug 2015

The rise in the incidence of child labour in west African cocoa production detailed in last week's report from Tulane University is a disappointment to all those working to address the issue, including food companies. While the statistics reveal some relative improvements and give ground for optimism, Ben Cooper writes, the abiding message has to be that more must be done.


Consuming issues: Why UK must act in wake of SACN report 20 Jul 2015

A panel advising the UK government on nutrition has recommended halving the official guidance on the consumption of free sugars. Attention now turns to how the country's politicians will respond. Ben Cooper argues the UK government should act - but some policies are more likely than others.


Consuming issues: Battle against antimicrobial resistance just beginning 26 Jun 2015

The use of antibiotics in the rearing of animals has been a much discussed issue in recent weeks, with regulatory and corporate moves across a number of countries. Ben Cooper examines recent events in the context of the widespread concern over antimicrobial resistance.


Consuming issues: UK Responsibility Deal must address credibility gap 20 May 2015

A report has criticised the UK's Public Health Responsibility Deal, a set of voluntary programmes that has seen industry work with government and public health professionals to try improve the country's health. Ben Cooper argues opponents of the scheme should not automatically see the report as vindication but insists the Deal has work to do address the report's findings.


Consuming issues: Why Mars' sugar call should be welcomed 14 May 2015

Campaigners would contend companies do not often make progressive moves on issues of public concern until pressure has been exerted on them to do so. In the food sector, there is a fair deal of historical evidence to support this, so moves like the one Mars Inc has made on the labelling of added sugar in the US are somewhat rare.


Consuming issues: Living by a (grocery) code 26 Mar 2015

Codes governing the relationships between retailers and manufacturers have made headlines in the UK and Australia. However, recent headlines in the UK have shone a spotlight on dealings between manufacturers and their suppliers - and Ben Cooper mulls whether the scrutiny could move towards that part of the supply chain.


Consuming issues: Why US Dietary Guidelines committee report deserves praise 24 Feb 2015

With a call for nutrient taxes and linking the impact of diet on the environment, the advisory committee's recommendations for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has been met with criticism by parts of the food industry. Ben Cooper argues the committee deserves praise.


Consuming issues: Why US dietary guidelines should consider environment 22 Jan 2015

The possibility environmental criteria might form the latest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans has provoked intense debate in the US, with the meat industry in strong opposition. The guidelines will be updated this year and politics may mean green issues are not considered. Ben Cooper argues ultimately that must change.


Consuming issues: Paying the price for eating healthily 16 Oct 2014

Research suggesting the price gap between healthier and less healthy foods is widening will have been greeted with concern by public health experts and policymakers. Food companies should be worried too but, Ben Cooper argues, they should also be encouraged by the direction this research may take the debate.


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