Ban flapjacks to curb obesity?

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 21st July 2009

UK supermarkets should pull a range of snack products, including flapjacks, from their shelves in a bid to curb rising obesity, according to the outgoing head of the Food Standards Agency – the British food regulatory agency.

Speaking to The Times at the end of her four-year stint as chair of the FSA, Dame Deirdre Hutton pointed the finger at certain snacks on supermarket shelves.

“It is my personal view that supermarkets should stop marketing food that is small in size and high in calories. For example, flapjacks should not be on sale,” Dame Deirdre told the newspaper.

“I don’t think that supermarkets should be selling this very energy-driven food,” she added. “We should be making low-calorie food the norm and anything that is high in fat should be niche. We should reverse the norm and stores should sell 90 per cent healthy food and 10 per cent unhealthy.”

The FSA distanced itself from Dame Deirdre’s comments, insisting the quotes published in The Times represented “her personal views”.

Last week, former food minister Lord Rooker was appointed to replace Dame Deirdre as chair of the FSA.

A spokesperson for the watchdog said the body was preparing a “strategic plan” for the agency’s work to 2015, although there is yet to be a firm date for its publication.

The Food and Drink Federation said it was unsure why the flapjack had been “targeted”.

“No-one could seriously call for a situation where the Government would seek to micro manage and control the sort of treats you put in your shopping baskets,” said FDF director of communications Julian Hunt. “So I can only assume this was an off-the-cuff remark taken out of context.”

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