National Prevention Agreement stifled by lobby of the food and alcohol industry

12 April 2019

State Secretary Paul Blokhuis (Health, ChristenUnie) has listened too much to the food and alcohol industry. The measures from the National Prevention Agreement, which was concluded after months of negotiations in November 2018, are therefore not effective enough.

This is stated in a paper presented today to the Association for Health Law. The document discusses the role of law in regulating the themes of the National Prevention Agreement: tobacco, food and alcohol.

Bringing all those organizations to the table deserves praise, according to the professors of health law Brigit Toebes (University of Groningen) and Jos Dute (Radboud University). Only: health does not lend itself to compromises.

In order to reduce excessive alcohol consumption, Blokhuis mainly focuses on education, research into the effects of marketing and a ban on price promotions with more than 25% discount. "Far too little," say Toebes and Dute. Proven effective measures such as higher excise duties and fewer outlets are forgotten. Moreover, the agreement hardly provides for sanctions.

"The good thing is that improving public health becomes a shared responsibility," says Toebes by telephone. "On the other hand, the central government is primarily responsible for the health of citizens. That should not be passed on to municipalities or industry."

A spokesperson for Blokhuis told the media that "a healthier offer is really a producer's choice. Then it is better to talk to them than to exclude them."



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