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Sugars

Volume 164: debated on Monday 18 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) why it was decided that the publication of his Department's report on sugars and health would not be accompanied by a press conference; and if he will make a statement;(2) whether the publication of the COMA report on sugar and health was accompanied by a press conference.

A press briefing, open to all journalists, was held on Tuesday 12 December on publication of the report of the panel on dietary sugars.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what weight he gave to Professor Don Naismith's participation in a sugar industry deputation against the British Medical Association's view on sugar consumption when considering his appointment to the COMA panel on sugars and health; and if he will make a statement;(2) what weight he gave to Professor Harry Keen's speeches on sugar industry platforms and his research funding from the sugar industry when considering his appointment to the COMA panel on sugars and health; and if he will make a statement;(3) what weight he gave to Professor John Durnin's speeches on sugar industry platforms and his participation in a sugar industry deputation against the British Medical Association's view on sugar consumption, when considering his appointment to the COMA panel on sugars and health; and if he will make a statement.

The Government's chief medical officer takes great care when choosing members for the committee on medical aspects of food policy (COMA) and its panels to ensure that advice is comprehensive, balanced and objective. The panel on dietary sugars, consisting of 12 members, was chosen to take account of the whole spectrum of scientific opinion regarding sugars and health. The report produced by the panel was agreed by all panel members.I understand that Professor Naismith was not a member of the deputation to which the hon. Member refers.