SME Chamber

GRTU discusses Bill on Reducing Obesity

GRTU met Hon Robert Cutajar who is the pioneer behind the Bill that is currently being discussed in Parliament. A number of GRTU members had in fact voiced their concerns on this Bill and GRTU felt it should make its position clear and seek to introduce amendment to mitigate certain worrying elements that could harm the private sector.
GRTU believes the Bill is very positive and indeed it contains a number of important measures that should address the critical issue of obesity in Malta. 
The Bill in fact is built on the concept of increasing education on the subject and healthy living at all ages, especially amongst children. This is an approach GRTU supports and therefore argued that as far as schools and school children are concerned the school has all the right to choose what kind of food is offered on the premises because the school has a responsibility in this regard.
GRTU is however squarely against imposing restrictions on shops in the vicinity of schools, or other, on what they can sell and during which times, because they might be accessible to the children. GRTU believes that an important corner stone of this Bill is that it builds on educating children to become adults able to make good choices when it comes to food and drink. Attempting to shield children by imposing restrictions on shops is a disproportionate measure and any direct positive results that can be derived from such measures are dubious. Hon Cutajar reassured GRTU that this is not the aim of the Bill and shops in the vicinity will not be affected. 
The Bill in fact does not prejudicate shops at this stage but it still contains the potential to do so. The Bill provides for the establishment of an Advisory Committee that could potentially decide to introduce parameters that exceed the school premises and affect shops. GRTU proposed to have a representative on this Committee so that together with the other members of the Committee solutions are found that will positively affect the cause but do not damage the shop owners. 

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