U.K.’s Hunt Doesn’t Rule Out Legislation to Tackle Sugary Food

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he doesn’t rule out legislation on food high in sugar, in a bid to tackle a growing obesity problem in England.

“In the end, this is a matter of individual choice,” Hunt told ITV Plc’s “The Agenda” program today when asked about the possibility of a new law. “It’s a matter of people making decisions about their own lives but I don’t rule it out and there are things that we’re doing.”

Hunt said he does not favor legislation if manufacturers and supermarkets such as Tesco Plc and J Sainsbury Plc can work toward a so-called “responsibility deal” to bring down the sugar content in food. He called legislation a “blunt tool” to tackle the problem.

More than 60 percent of adults and a third of 10- and 11- year-olds are overweight or obese in England, according to the nation’s Department of Health.

“I just think that it’s a very blunt tool because in the end you can say we want to have certain children’s cereal have less sugar content and people will find another something that calls itself a cereal that has more sugar content in it,” Hunt said. “Much more important is things like the way that supermarkets present fresh fruit, and do they have offers on fresh fruit and fresh produce as they do on sugary products.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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