Britain's biggest diabetes charity has come under fire for signing a £500,000 contract with the makers of Tango and Pepsi.
The three-year partnership between Diabetes UK and fizzy drinks firm Britvic will fund the charity’s schools, education and awards programmes. Doctors and campaigners described the deal as ‘appalling’.
Diabetes UK has long warned that sugary food and drink is fuelling Britain’s diabetes epidemic. Just last week the charity released figures showing 7,000 under-25s are being treated for type 2 diabetes – ten times more than previously thought.
However, it said it was ‘thrilled’ by the partnership with Britvic. The charity’s chief executive, Chris Askew, last night defended the deal, stressing that his organisation ‘cannot tackle the diabetes crisis in isolation’.
He said: ‘We recognise that partnerships – and the opportunities they present both to influence industry, and to amplify our work – are one of the key ways for us to make change happen.’
He insisted the new deal is ‘in line’ with the charity’s funding policy, written just five months ago, which states: ‘No commercial partnership will be entered into with a company whose product or service is considered to be detrimental to people living with or at risk of diabetes.’
The charity has ruled out working with tobacco firms, and insists that deals with food and drinks companies ‘will be subject to a full risk assessment’.
The deal with Britvic specifically relates to type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune disease which has no link to obesity or diet.