Food Reformulation, Responsive Regulation, and 'Regulatory Scaffolding': Strengthening Performance of Salt Reduction Programs in Australia and the United Kingdom

Nutrients, Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 5281-5308, 2015

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 15/58

29 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2015

See all articles by Roger Magnusson

Roger Magnusson

The University of Sydney Law School

Belinda Reeve

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: July 2, 2015

Abstract

Strategies to reduce excess salt consumption play an important role in preventing cardiovascular disease, which is the largest contributor to global mortality from non-communicable diseases. In many countries, voluntary food reformulation programs seek to reduce salt levels across selected product categories, guided by aspirational targets to be achieved progressively over time. This paper evaluates the industry-led salt reduction programs that operate in the United Kingdom and Australia. Drawing on theoretical concepts from the field of regulatory studies, we propose a step-wise or “responsive” approach that introduces regulatory “scaffolds” to progressively increase levels of government oversight and control in response to industry inaction or under-performance. Our model makes full use of the food industry’s willingness to reduce salt levels in products to meet reformulation targets, but recognizes that governments remain accountable for addressing major diet-related health risks. Creative regulatory strategies can assist governments to fulfil their public health obligations, including in circumstances where there are political barriers to direct, statutory regulation of the food industry.

Keywords: salt reduction, legislation; regulation, United Kingdom, Australia, food policy, non-communicable disease

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32

Suggested Citation

Magnusson, Roger and Reeve, Belinda, Food Reformulation, Responsive Regulation, and 'Regulatory Scaffolding': Strengthening Performance of Salt Reduction Programs in Australia and the United Kingdom (July 2, 2015). Nutrients, Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 5281-5308, 2015, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 15/58, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2626274

Roger Magnusson (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Belinda Reeve

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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