Supermarkets back public health initiative

Seven of the UK’s supermarket chains have joined the Government’s controversial responsibility deal, which is aimed at encouraging healthier lifestyles in England.
Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and The Co-operative have all signed up to the voluntary scheme, putting their names to a number of key pledges covering alcohol .
These include including increasing the proportion of alcoholic drinks with clear unit labelling from 15 per cent to 80 per cent by the end of 2013 and making donations towards regional programmes aimed at tackling alcohol abuse .
Asda has pledged not to promote alcohol at the front of store and has promised to invest £1m in community youth projects, while Morrisons has promised to offer at least 50 fresh fruit and vegetable promotions each week.
Andy Clarke, president and CEO of Asda, said: “Our pledge to remove alcohol from the entrance of our store is part of our broader health agenda and is another small, but important step towards creating a new way of selling alcohol at Asda .”
“As always, we stand ready to play a leading role by working alongside the Government to tackle alcohol misuse in the UK.”
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Public health is everyone’s responsibility and there is a role for all of us, working in partnership, to tackle these challenges.”

“We know that regulation is costly, can take years and is often only determined at an EU-wide level anyway. That’s why we have to introduce new ways of achieving better results.