The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has warned members not to engage with health charities on product reformulation.

Campaign groups Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) and Action on Sugar have been warned by the FDF not to communicate directly with its members on matters concerning product reformulation – claiming it does not see the “additional value” of both CASH and Action on Sugar’s input, who should not “dictate” to the industry.

In a letter to Professor Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chair of Action on Sugar and CASH, the FDF said: “it is for Government to collect information and host discussions with a range of stakeholders on what is the most appropriate way for it to set its public health policy, and not for others, NGOs or industry to dictate.”

By way of response, MacGregor, said: “This is typical of the mentality of the FDF, trying to dictate to us and to the industry what we can and can’t do in trying to tackle Britain’s escalating obesity crisis and is a clear attempt at preventing NGOs and the food industry to communicate and express their views openly.

“The FDF is clearly trying to do everything in its power to stop a coherent plan for sugar and fat reduction, just as they previously rigorously opposed any attempt of salt reduction.”

Last month the Taxpayers’ Alliance said the planned sugar tax will “hit poorest families hardest” and has nothing to do with the sugar content of products.