UK Delays Junk Food Marketing Rules, Gets Blowback

May 18, 2022
The British government is getting political blowback for its decision to delay implementation of food marketing regulations intended to combat obesity.

The British government is getting political blowback for its decision to delay implementation of food marketing regulations intended to combat obesity.

The regulations would restrict how foods that exceed certain levels for fat, sugar or other unhealthy components could be marketed and sold in the United Kingdom. They would ban two-for-one deals for such food and would disallow television advertising for them before 9 p.m.

These regulations were slated to take effect in October. However, the Department of Health and Social Care announced May 13 that they would be delayed for a year to allow officials to better assess their economic impact.

The announcement drew an immediate backlash from politicians and others, including celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. In an Instagram post, Oliver threatened to stage a protest May 20 outside 10 Downing Street if the policy is not overturned.

Lord William Hague, a former leader of Britain’s Conservative Party, which controls the current UK government, denounced the delay in an op-ed that ran in The Times May 16. He wrote that the delay is “intellectually shallow, politically weak and morally reprehensible” and that "Conservatives support freedom of choice but have always seen that it is sometimes necessary to prevent consumers being abused or misled."

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