NFFF meeting with Government Minister
Article Date: 2013-05-17
NFFF meet with Government Minister – and healthier Fish and Chips are on the menu
On Tuesday 14th May NFFF Vice President Mark Drummond and General Secretary Denise Dodd travelled to Richmond House in Whitehall, London (home to the Department of Health), to meet with Anna Soubry MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health.
Mark and Denise’s mission was to demonstrate the facts to Ms Soubry that directly challenge the negative press fish and chips have received both by the media and by the Government, and that the Government itself should be supporting this great British industry, not preventing its development and growth.
The NFFF believes the fish and chip industry is unfairly targeted by the media (often supported by Government) whenever stories arise regarding:
• Salt content
• Obesity claims (which are often used to affect planning consents)
As Denise comments, “Fish and chips have been around for over one hundred and fifty years. Obesity on the scale it is in the UK today is a modern phenomenon, so why place the blame at our door?”
Prior to the meeting, the NFFF had appealed to members to send in their comments, complaints and evidence to the NFFF headquarters. Mark had also worked with Stelios Theocharous of the “Fish & Chip Test Company” to compile an excellent presentation comparing the nutritional content of fish & chips with various other take-away foods.
In the space of forty-five minutes, the NFFF duo presented Ms Soubry with hard facts and evidence to support the argument that these claims by the media and the Government were factually incorrect, excessive and grossly biased – to the point of scaremongering. Amongst the points we made were:
• The fish and chip industry is a valuable contributor to the UK economy
• Fish and chips are not “junk” food
• Fish and chips were not even sampled in the recent CASH report on salt content in takeaway food, and showed evidence that gram-for-gram fish and chips are lower in salt, sugar, calories and saturated fats than most other takeaway meals
• We showed examples of how our industry is used as a scapegoat for the rise in obesity
Both Mark and Denise were delighted with the outcome. Ms Soubry herself enjoys fish and chips regularly as part of her well balanced diet, and she was impressed with the work and effort taken by the NFFF and its members in putting their views across.
The Government would now like to work with the NFFF to make fish and chips as healthy as possible.
They hope fish & chip shops will be able to take part in their “Public Health Responsibility Deal” and possibly develop a new “healthy eating sticker” to display in participating fish & chip shops.
The NFFF looks forward to working with Ms Soubry in their continued quest to promote fish and chips as a delicious, nutritious and much-loved meal.