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Professor Donal O’Shea, clinical lead for Health and Safety Executive in Ireland, said the meals should be banned because they are so unhealthy and contribute to the UK and Ireland’s obesity crisis. Supermarkets and other shops, like Boots, typically offer a sandwich, drink and snack at what is perceived as a bargain price.
But speaking on The Pat Kenny Show in Ireland, the professor said: “Literally, that should be illegal.
“The industry has the statistics and they know how to prompt and promote consumption, And 70% of people will say no the first time, but if the person behind the counter says ‘well are you sure, it’s a good offer’. Then another 30% will say ‘ah yeah, go on’.
“They are actually trained because the industry has the stats and they know how to prompt and they know how to promote consumption. We just have to be super aware of that and try to resist it. Those buy one get one free offers are always around the high fat, high salt, high sugar stuff, never around fruit.”
A recent report showed obesity is responsible for 200,000 cancer cases and 1.2 million deaths a year in Europe, Manchester Evening News says.
Shop Smart: Save Money compares supermarket meal deals
Prof O’Shea, who also works in medical training, also blames COVID-19 for the rise in weight issues.
But taking to social media, people reacted in fury to the calls to axe the meal deal.
One woman wrote: “Let people make their own choices! No one *has* to get crisps and a sugary drink on their meal deal, there are always fruit/egg/veg options and no one is stopping anyone from getting water.”
Another Facebook user said: “They do healthy versions, can get fruit pots, nut snacks and juice/water in all of these places.”
A third posted: “How about processed food getting banned instead?”
Others suggested meal deals are more important nowadays than ever, due to the rising cost of living.
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