Health Commissioner Kyprianou acknowledges and applaudes some industry initiatives in the fight against obesity but says that if self-regulation does not work, legislative action will follow.
“Industry is often accused of not doing enough in the fight against obesity. However, a number of companies have actually taken some initiatives to do something, even if they eventually go against their own interests. This needs to be acknowledged,” said Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou in a ‘name and praise’ press conference on 9 November 2006.
In this event, Kyprianou thanked several CEOs of major food, drink and retail industries for their commitments to tackling obesity made in the framework of the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.
The companies ‘praised’ range from soft drinks companies in UNESDA (Coca Cola) who have committed not to advertise soft drinks to children under 12, to McDonald’s for their commitment to provide nutritional information on packaging throughout Europe and retail industries for their commitment to reformulate products or to not to market certain products directly to children unless they meet a certain nutritional profile.
“These commitments are good examples of concrete and verifiable action undertaken by industry to tackle obesity and overweight. We hope they encourage others to take the same kind of actions and that the current initiatives will be further expanded,” added Kyprianou emphasising that a key element of these initiatives is that their implementation is monitored in a transparent and accountable way. But “if self-regulation does not work, then we’ll have to take other, even legislative action”, he added.