Tim Dower: Should the government regulate junk food industry?

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Wed, 18 Dec 2019, 11:31AM
Photo / File

Tim Dower: Should the government regulate junk food industry?

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Wed, 18 Dec 2019, 11:31AM

Doctors are demanding a much tougher line from the Government on the food industry.

The ASTMS, which is the body representing senior medics, says it "abhors the failure of the Minister to regulate food".

The doctors want immediate regulation to prevent tooth decay and obesity, and the lifelong harm they cause to people's health.

So far, self-regulation might lead to a few restrictions on junk food and drink advertising near schools, and perhaps a bit less sugar in some products.

Now, when it comes to personal habits like eating and drinking and smoking, even drug taking, most of the time I'd say Nanny State should just butt out and let people make their own decisions.

If people want to fill themselves up with chippies and lolly water, that's their business.

If the Government does have a part to play, it should be in making sure the information is out there, on the product label so consumers to make their own decisions.

I mean, seriously, can there be a person in the country who isn't now aware that fizzy drinks are almost entirely sugar?

But the doctors do have a point.

New Zealand is overweight.

Obesity costs the health system more than $600 million a year. God knows what it's costing the welfare system paying for people too fat or sick to go to work.

And that makes it everyone's business.

It took a heck of a long time to get any kind of regulation on tobacco, but was it the right thing to do? Of course it was.

We're only now waking up to the scale of the booze problem, maybe something will happen there eventually.

Is it going to take as long for us to deal with crap food? Yes, probably.