The sugar tax has been included in the Childhood Obesity Strategy, while whole sections of the draft have been dropped.
The strategy now includes a voluntary challenge for the food industry to reduce sugar in products by 5% in one year, with an aim to reach a 20% drop by 2020, a move the Oral Health Foundation has described an ‘absolute disaster’, pointing to a missed opportunity for a blanket ban on junk food advertising during family TV shows.
However, the sugar tax, introduced in George Osborne’s Budget in March, has received the go-ahead from the government due to come in by 2018.
‘Today’s Childhood Obesity Strategy is a disaster,’ Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said.
‘Despite the strategy being focused on tackling obesity, the knock on effect it would have had on oral health was enormous and what we have seen today spells bad news for generations of our children.
‘We are incredibly disappointed but sadly not surprised by this move.
‘The government continue to ignore the children’s oral health crisis we are experiencing in the UK and are putting the wellbeing of millions of people a risk by bowing to pressure from the food and drink industry.
‘We will continue to lobby the government for more decisive action and apply pressure on the food and drink industry until a telling change is made.’