A deal between food manufacturers and Government to cut the levels of saturated fat in food has been described as a drop in the ocean by health experts looking for a change in the law, reports the BBC.
A pledge by food producers including supermarkets Sainsbury's, Tesco and Morrisons, and other companies such as Subway and Nestle, to cut the amount of saturated fat in their food has been described by leading public health experts as a 'drop in the ocean'.
The Department of Health believe the deal will make a big impact on the health of the nation, by bringing the levels of saturated fat down.
The typical man should eat no more than 30g of saturated fat in a day, whilst women should eat no more than 20g. However, statistics suggest most of us eat around 20% more than we should.
The Department of Health says cutting saturated fat by just 15% could result in around 2,500 fewer deaths per year by cutting cholesterol and lowering rates of heart disease.
As part of the deal, major manufacturers have agreed to alter the way they produce key products, including Nestle's KitKat and Morrisons' range of spreads.
They will also review portion sizes and look at ways to incentivise consumers to choose healthier food options.
The saturated fat pledge was launched on Saturday and has 11 signatories at the outset, representing more than 50% of the food manufactured in the UK by market share.
However, whilst being described as a 'good thing', the action taken so far by the Government has been criticised by leading public health expert Professor John Ashton.
"This announcement is a drop in the ocean in comparison with the scale of the obesity crisis," he told the BBC.
"[The industry needs] to ensure that at the same time they lower the sugar and salt that they have used to make foods more tasty as a result of lowering the fat content," he added.
Change in the law
Professor Ashton believes that the time for voluntary measures on food content has passed and that such moves are a feeble attempt by food producers to save face in the wake of a huge tide of obesity that is sweeping Britain.
Many public health experts want the Government to legislate on food production, forcing manufacturers to adhere to stricter guidelines on fat, salt and sugar content to deliver foods that will make Britain healthier.
The opposition public health spokeswoman, Luciana Berger, said that the plan is doomed to fail.
"A few company names on a non-binding plan with no timescale stands little chance of delivering the fundamental change needed to improve our national diet," she told the BBC.
The Labour Party is committed to setting bold legal limits on fat, sugar and salt content.
However, whilst targeting saturated fat has been welcomed, a leading cardiologist has recently told the BBC that focusing solely on saturated fat is a mistake.
Dr Aseem Malhotra believes that a broader approach taxing sugary drinks, banning advertising of junk food directed at children and enforcing compulsory nutritional standards for children in school would have a bigger impact on public health.