Local authorities will struggle to enforce new proposed healthy eating rules without “additional resources”, a new Aberdeen council report has said.
The public protection committee will next week hear the council’s response to the ongoing Scottish Government consultation on reducing health harms of foods high in fat, sugar or salt.
Under the proposals, restrictions on multi-buy deals and not placing junk food at checkouts are among actions being considered.
However, council’s environmental protection and trading standards teams would be responsible for policing the policy – leading to fears it could take resources off other inspections.
The local authority’s proposed response, which will have to be rubber stamped by committee members on Wednesday meeting, would be to accept the policy but raise concerns.
It would read: “Unless additional resources are provided, there is the potential that this could impact on other public health controls delivered by environmental health as it could extend the length of time that a food law inspection currently takes and therefore may ultimately reduce the number of inspections that could be conducted annually.
“The enforcement of this policy has the potential to divert resources from higher risk catering businesses which need concentrated intervention visits to ensure that they are complying with the law.”
Liberal Democrat committee member Martin Greig said: “There is no point in the Scottish Government imposing new rules without the resources to monitor and enforce.
“It is unfair to just keep adding to the burdens of local government without considering the impact.
“New food regulations will need additional funding for training, inspections and the extra administrative burdens. Enforcement should always be a last resort.”
Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick said:“Restricting the in-store promotion and marketing of food high in fat, sugar or salt is crucial to tackling our nation’s damaging relationship with junk food.
“We are working closely with Cosla to assess resourcing this ground-breaking policy and we will consider the council’s response to our consultation on in-store promotion and marketing of such foods along with other submissions.”