Pay firms to produce healthier food, says UK government watchdog

Food companies should be paid by the state to produce healthy foods and help save tens of thousands of lives, says the UK government’s health watchdog.
This means farmers could be given cash incentives to grow fruit and vegetables rather than producing fatty meats, and supermarkets could get tax breaks to stock healthy foods at affordable prices.

Demanding wholesale changes to the way food is produced and consumed in the UK, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) – whose main role is to ration NHS drugs – says that if manufacturers reduced the amount of salt and saturated fat in their food, some 40,000 lives a year could be saved.

In its guidance on reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease, it also calls on companies and public institutions – such as hospitals and universities – to scrap subsidised car parking to encourage people to walk or cycle to work.
However, the food industry has attacked the guidance, declaring most of it impractical. Critics also said it was far beyond NICE’s remit.

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