The Government’s “Responsibility Deal” with confectioners has been branded as “hogwash” after a new line of calorie-laden chocolate was unveiled.
Nestlé’s Wonka chocolate bars have an “unbelievable” amount of calories – with some of the bars packing in 555 calories per 100g (3.53oz), the National Obesity Forum said.
The manufacturer is one of a many to join the Government’s voluntary scheme which aims to curb the rising tide of obesity across the country.
Producers and retailers are encouraged to reduced artificial trans fat, calories and salt in foods and set-up consistent front-of-pack food labelling.
But the National Obesity Forum said that Ministers must consider proper regulation instead of working with industry on a voluntary basis.
Forum trustee Tam Fry said: “This chocolate bar, which is geared at adults, has 555 calories in a bar. As far as I’m concern that is just unbelievable.
“But I cannot see any reason or any guarantee that children won’t be getting hold of this – and for children it will be devastating. When you think of that number of calories, it’s a quarter of a adult female’s total daily allowance – so considerably more than that for children.
“Not only will it be detrimental to obesity but it is ruinous to teeth if the proper teeth brushing is not fulfilled.
“When I found out that Nestlé was sign up to the Responsibility Deal from the Department of Health I was even more amazed because this is just, I think, totally irresponsible.
“It is calamitous that the Government is trying to cut down calories and have industry be responsible and suddenly they come with a 555 calorie bar.
“The Responsibility Deal is a load of hogwash.
“The reason the industry sign up to the Responsibility Deal is because they do not want legislation or regulation.
“The Government said that would be very difficult to achieve and that’s hogwash too. They could legislate or regulate within days if they really wanted to.
“We have got such a burden on the Exchequer from obesity – the Department of Health is predicting the burden next year will be £6.4bn – and it has such detriment to health and long term health that regulation has got to happen.”