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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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