Sunday, 24 June 2018

The growing war on food

Looks like the Tories have caved in to the nanny state vermin once again, this time on the pretext of tackling the non-existent childhood obesity 'epidemic'.

New measures to halve the number of obese children by 2030 have been announced by Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt today.

Building upon the world-leading first chapter of the Childhood Obesity Plan, the new measures include proposals to mitigate ‘pester-power’ by preventing stores from displaying unhealthy food at checkouts or including it in buy-one-get-one-free deals.

We will consult on introducing clear, consistent calorie labelling on menus in restaurants, cafés and takeaways, so parents can make an informed choice about what their families are eating, and on banning the sale of harmful, caffeine laden energy drinks to children. A quarter of 6-9 year-olds consume these energy drinks, which have as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

The Government is also today calling on industry to recognise the harm that constant adverts for foods high in fat, sugar and salt can cause, and will consult on introducing new TV and online advertising restrictions to prevent children from being targeted by these unhealthy products, and to incentivise companies to reduce the sugar and calories in the products they sell.

This could include extending the current advertising watershed and considering limiting the number of unhealthy food adverts shown during programmes children watch to 9pm.

We've seen how this works many times. The army of state-funded 'public health' groups will bombard the public consultation with identikit responses and accuse the government of being in the pocket of 'Big Food' if they don't introduce an advertising ban. Within a week they will have launched their next set of demands.

I put out a comment for the IEA yesterday:

“This is more big government interference to pile on top of the regressive sugar tax and the food reformulation scheme. A ban on so-called ‘junk food advertising’ before 9pm would treat everything from fruit juice to cheese as if it were soft porn. It would be a heavy blow to commercial broadcasters and would reduce the range and quality of TV shows. Most programmes after 6pm are watched by adults and it is adults who do the vast majority of food shopping. There is no need for censorship.

Calorie labelling on menus seems a nice idea in principle but the evidence from the USA shows that it has no impact on calorie consumption and obesity. It is likely to raise costs, especially for small businesses, and discourage restaurants from introducing new dishes."

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