HFSS: Jacob Rees-Mogg tells public to defy government junk food rules

Business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has called for “Freedom for chocolate oranges!” as he told the public to defy government junk food rules.

Speaking at a fringe meeting at the Tory Party conference, Rees-Mogg encouraged consumers to commit a “passive protest” by moving chocolate to the checkout counter in supermarkets.

The HFSS legislation – which came into force on Saturday 1 October despite health campaigners’ fears surrounding recent reports of a possible government U-turn – mean that retailers are no longer able to place food, drinks and snacks high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) in prominent locations, such as shop entrances, checkout areas, aisle ends and any online equivalents.

Retailers have already spent millions on new store layouts that conform to the new HFSS rules.

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However, the senior cabinet minister told the Institute of Economic Affairs: “I encourage people – as a passive protest – to move the chocolate oranges to the checkout counter when they’re next in a particular supermarket – whose name I would think has appeared in the public press.

“Freedom for chocolate oranges is what I say!”

Rees-Mogg’s comments came in response to IEA director general Mark Littlewood as part of a wider discussion on deregulation.

Littlewood told him: “I’m told that there’s a major supermarket that have now complied with the government’s ridiculous rules about what can be displayed at the end of aisles.

“And having now complied with this at the cost of many millions of pounds, they are campaigning to keep the regulations to make sure that new entrants have to comply with it.”

The move is a key part of the government’s commitment to reduce obesity and will be bolstered by a ban on HFSS multibuy offers, which has been delayed until October next year. A crackdown on junk food advertising has also been delayed until 2024 as the government reviews its anti-obesity strategy.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Tackling obesity remains a priority for the government. Having a fit and healthy population is essential for a thriving economy and we remain committed to helping people live healthier lives.”



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