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Food giants will be responsible for thousands of needless cases of diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer if they fail to hit the Government's sugar reduction targets, research suggests.
Oxford University academics calculated that the scheme - which aims to cut sugar by a fifth in cereals, yogurts and sweet treats - will significantly cut obesity and reduce hundreds of thousands of cases of disease if it is successful.
Progress - Industry - Targets
But they warned that initial progress has been poor and industry is already falling behind on the targets.
A third of children and two thirds of adults in Britain are now overweight, making the UK one of the fattest nations in Europe.
Food - Campaigners - Night - Sugar - Reduction
Food campaigners last night called for the voluntary sugar reduction scheme - a key part of the Government's childhood obesity strategy - to be made mandatory if it is ever going to work.
Theresa May introduced the strategy as one of her first main policies when she became prime minister in 2016, calling for companies to 'reformulate' their products to reduce sugar by 20 per cent by 2020.
Reduction - Portion - Size - Shift - Sales
She also called for a reduction in portion size and a shift in sales from high-sugar products to low-sugar alternatives.
Even at the time she was accused of 'caving in' to the junk food lobby by failing to make the voluntary request into a strict rule.
Voices - Action - Year - Sugar - Content
But voices for tougher action intensified last year when it emerged average sugar content had fallen by just 2 per cent in the first year - not even getting halfway to the 5 per cent year-one ambition.
Even Dame Sally Davies, the Government's chief medical officer, in December admitted the arrangements had failed to sufficiently reduce sugar - and called for further action.
Sugar - Targets - Salt - Mandation
'Our sugar targets haven't been met so far,' she said. 'The same with salt. We need to threaten them with mandation.' The...
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