An evaluation of a public–private partnership to reduce artificial trans fatty acids in England, 2011–16

C. Knai, L. James, M. Petticrew, E. Eastmure, M.A. Durand, N. Mays
2017 European Journal of Public Health  
The Public Health Responsibility Deal (RD) is a public-private partnership in England involving voluntary pledges between government, and business and other public organisations to improve public health. One such voluntary pledge refers to the reduction of trans fatty acids (TFAs) in the food supply in England by either pledging not to use artificial TFAs or pledging artificial TFA removal. This paper evaluates the RD's effectiveness at encouraging signatory organisations to remove artificially
more » ... produced TFAs in their products. Methods We analysed publically available data submitted by RD signatory organisations' on their plans and progress towards achieving the TFAs pledge, comparing 2015 progress reports against their delivery plans. We also assessed the extent to TFAs reductions beyond pre-2011 levels could be attributed to the RD. Results Voluntary reformulation via the RD has had limited added value, because the first part of the trans fat pledge simply requires organisations to confirm that they do not use TFAs and the second part that has the potential to reduce use has failed to attract the participation of food producers, particularly those producing fast foods and takeaways, where most remaining use of artificial TFAs is located. Conclusion The contribution of the RD TFAs pledges in reducing artificial TFAs from England's food supply beyond pre-2011 levels appears to be negligible. This research has wider implications on the growing international research on voluntary food policy, and offers insights for other countries currently undertaking work to remove TFAs from their food supply. Key points  The strategies likely to be effective in reducing or removing TFAs are not reflected in the Responsibility Deal TFA pledges.  The design of the RD pledges to remove TFA in the food supply was problematic, with the first component of the pledge relating to a simple statement confirming non-use of TFAs.
doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckx002 pmid:28339665 fatcat:6rhoisrrmbboba64qammyfxhva