The purpose of this commentary is to consider the extent to which food regulatory systems protect public health, and how a better job could be done. There are fundamental questions about the role of food regulations in responding to changes in food systems and to food-related public health issues. What is meant by the objective ‘to protect public health and safety’ in the context of food regulation? Are current systems well balanced between promoting trade and protecting health? What is the role of nutrition in food regulation? Should food regulation be used to promote as well as to protect public health? Should laws and regulations be used to intervene in the formulation and marketing of foods, or should ‘the market’ merely provide more choices and information for shoppers and consumers to select healthy diets?
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