Senator on report: We’re too fat and it’s someone else’s fault

A government-funded report released nationally today that purports to name and shame some of Australia’s most well-known brands for their lack of commitment in fighting obesity is an appalling waste of taxpayer dollars.

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm described the Inside our Food and Beverage Manufacturers report, funded through a $330,300 Australian Research Council grant and supplied to selected media outlets, as an extravagant exercise in the bleeding obvious.

“Here we have yet another report by so-called experts who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money to come to the astonishing conclusion that we’re too fat and it’s someone else’s fault, in this case the food manufacturers,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

“It’s a simple fact that we need to eat less and exercise more, and taking our major food manufacturers to task for not committing to a futile exercise in virtue signalling will not result in the slightest reduction in our GFP (gross fat posterior).”

The report, led by Deakin University’s Global Obesity Centre, assessed the policies and commitments related to obesity prevention and nutrition of 19 major manufacturers.

Brands such as Campbell Arnott’s, Fonterra, Mars, Nestle and Coca Cola were slammed for failing to work with major retailers to ensure their ‘less healthy’ products were less prominently displayed on supermarket shelves.

“The idea that for a food manufacturer to become a good corporate citizen it should be telling Woollies or Coles to display its products less prominently is naïve or stupid – and probably both,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

The report calls on the Federal Government to “closely monitor the implementation of company policies and commitments related to obesity prevention and nutrition and consider stronger policy intervention where voluntary company actions are insufficient”.

Senator Leyonhjelm urged the Government to receive the report in the same spirit most of the targeted manufacturers had appeared to – with the contempt it deserved. —

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