Tax chocolate and crisps to make veg cheaper, says Britain’s top medical adviser

Chocolate and crisps should be taxed to make vegetables cheaper, Britain’s top medical adviser has said.

Dame Sally Davies challenged the food industry, saying she was happy to become “chief nanny” and unveiled a blueprint for future health.

It is the most radical plan yet to tax unhealthy foods, which could get more expensive in order to subsidise supermarket fruit and vegetables.

Dame Sally, the nation’s top doctor, said: “Our environment is weighted against us making healthy choices. We have a system where people are benefiting from selling unhealthy foods and are not paying for the harm that’s doing to people and society.

“How we help people increase their intake of fruit and veg is something that needs to be considered. If you call that nanny state, then I’m chief nanny.”

The Chief Medical Officer’s annual report also called for a complete ban on added sugar from all baby food. She said it was fuelling obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

High sugar and salt content in the British diet is blamed for thousands of early deaths in the population, with obesity rates here among the worst in Europe.

This week, Public Health England revealed food firms have failed to meet almost half of the Government’s voluntary targets on salt reductions in what campaigners branded a “national tragedy”.

Dame Sally said Britain had been “world leading” until 2011, when Tory Health Secretary Andrew Lansley went soft on food manufacturers.

She demanded laws forcing firms to cut sugar and salt, and that the current sugar tax be added to milkshakes.

Prof Graham MacGregor, of Action on Sugar and Salt, said: “Unhealthy food that is high in
salt, sugar and calories is now the major cause of death and disability in the UK.”

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