Wednesday 27 April 2022

Kellogg's sues the government

'Junk food'

John Harvey Kellogg was a miserable, teetotal, anti-smoking puritan so it's richly ironic to see his company attacked by 21st century neo-puritans. And it's pleasing to finally see a bit of pushback...  
Food giant Kellogg's is taking the government to court over new rules that would prevent some cereals being prominently displayed in stores because of their high sugar content.

In a statement, Kellogg's said it had "tried to have a reasonable conversation with government" over the issue without success... 

As they would have been dealing with the Department of Health, that doesn't surprise me.

... hence their legal challenge.
Their argument is that the nutritional content of a box of cereal doesn't reflect the nutritional content of a bowl of cereal.

Chris Silcock, Kellogg's UK Managing Director, said: "We believe the formula being used by the government to measure the nutritional value of breakfast cereals is wrong and not implemented legally. It measures cereals dry when they are almost always eaten with milk.

"All of this matters because, unless you take account of the nutritional elements added when cereal is eaten with milk, the full nutritional value of the meal is not measured."

I don't know what the chances of success are. I expect the government will say that it can define 'junk food' however it wants and since the existing definition isn't based on any evidence whatsoever, it doesn't have to be consistent, rational or even sane.
Nonetheless, it is nice to see the food industry showing a bit of backbone at last. If the court case achieves nothing else, it might wake people up to the fact that this ban - and the accompanying advertising ban - mostly affects products that no reasonable person would consider to be junk food. I notice that the BBC article doesn't use the term 'junk food' for once, although it always did so when the campaign was underway.

Popular brands such as Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes and Fruit and Fibre are classified as foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt in their dry form and so retailers may be prevented from displaying such products in prominent positions, harming sales.

'Public health' versus Kellogg's Fruit and Fibre is just the battle we need to highlight the absurdity of this crusade. Like Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes, it is an excellent source of fibre and iron. Milk is an excellent source of calcium, vitamins and protein. It is a good thing for children to be eating them. Idiotic nanny state campaigners ignore all this because they are obsessed with trivial quantities of sugar.
The BBC naturally quotes some crank from Graham 'Mad Dog' MacGregor's Obesity Health Alliance...

Caroline Cerny, from the Obesity Health Alliance, said: "This is a blatant attempt by a multinational food company to wriggle out of vital new regulations that will limit their ability to profit from marketing their unhealthy products.

I once saw a box of Fruit and Fibre at the end of a supermarket aisle and now I'm so obese I can't leave the house.

"It's shocking that a company like Kellogg's would sue the government over its plans to help people be healthier rather than investing in removing sugar from their cereals."

Everything's "shocking" to these wowsers, isn't it?
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "Breakfast cereals contribute 7% - a significant amount - to the average daily free sugar intakes of children.
7% is not a significant amount in one meal and there's nothing wrong with a bit of sugar in the morning to give you some energy.

"Restricting the promotion and advertising of less healthy foods is an important part of the cross-government strategy to halve childhood obesity by 2030..."
How's that going, by the way, according to your own fake figures?

Sugar tax and food reformulation working well, then! No doubt the next raft of bans will emulate their success.

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