Submitted by The Cancer Research Campaign
1.1 The Campaign is currently celebrating its
75th Anniversary. We are the largest single funder of cancer research
in Britain's universities and medical schools, awarding on average
grants of £50 million each year. And we lead Europe in anti-cancer
drug development. Our aim is to attack and defeat the disease
of cancer in all its forms to investigate its causes, distribution,
pathology and treatments and to promote its cure.
1.2 Advances made in medical research have greatly
contributed to the enhancement of life prospects for those who
have the disease. Some cancers are now curable, and more people
with cancer are living for longer. While we shall continuously
strive to develop cures, we also fund research into how some cancers
can be prevented. Some cancers appear to have a genetic link,
others we know are triggered by certain factors, e.g., lung cancer
and smoking. Lifestyle and diet are other influences which need
to be taken into account.
2. THE FOOD
2.1 The Cancer Research Campaign welcomes the
opportunity to submit evidence to the Food Standards Committee,
regarding the establishment of a Foods Standard Agency. We believe
we are qualified to do so as food, and its quality have a major
role to play in health.
2.2 We applaud what we see as a common sense
move to concentrate the responsibilities of MAFF and the Department
of Health regarding food safety and hygiene under one consumer-focused
body. We believe MAFF has the difficult job of trying to represent
the interests of both consumers and producers.
3. THE CASE
3.1 The old adage "you are what you eat",
has been amply backed by research. We firmly believe a healthy,
balanced diet and lifestyle makes for a healthier person.
3.2 Recent studies from The Cancer Research
Campaign and other research bodies, has demonstrated that certain
forms of cancer may be prevented by certain foodstuffs. The Cancer
Research Campaign, for example, has evidence that those with diets
rich in fibre, be it cereals, fruit and vegetables (fresh or frozen)
have a lower tendency to develop bowel cancer (and incidentally,
are less prone to heart disease too).
3.3 We wish to advocate a system of food labelling
which would inform consumers of the positive health benefits of
eating certain foodse.g., eating fibre may help prevent
bowel cancerand we believe that this is a function that
could fall within the competence of a Food Standards Agency, which
is also tasked with providing information on the nutritional content
of individual foods.
3.4 The Agency also has a duty to provide information
and advice to the general public, for example by:
Running information campaigns on
issues of current interest and importance.
Publishing scientific data arising
from research or surveillance and advising on its interpretation.
Producing leaflets on food hygiene,
Producing educational materials.
3.4 We believe that health labelling of food
sits squarely with the role advocated for the Agency and would
have a greater, more direct impact on the consumer, especially
if taken in conjunction with health information campaigns.
4.1 The Cancer Research Campaign would be happy
to supply any research relevant to this proposal to the Food Standards
Committee. We have worked closely with MAFF and the Department
of Health in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
And, if invited, we would be happy to submit evidence orally to