Wednesday, 7 September 2011

More steps to the denormalising of food...

The Children's Food Campaign is funded by Sustain, the "alliance for better food and farming" and the British Heart Foundation. It's list of supporting organisations reads like a guide to Britain's New Puritans - everyone from obesity campaigners and teacher trade unions to the Woodcraft Folk. And the Campaign is ever so righteous campaigning for bans on advertising for "junk food", compulsory food brainwashing in schools and ever more labelling controls.

Their latest publication is part of the attack - co-ordinated it seems across the categories of nannying fussbucketry - on the current government's preference for negotiated voluntary agreements with the food industry:

“Our analysis shows that, unlike its name suggests, the ‘Responsibility Deal’ is an irresponsible and utterly inadequate response to the public health problems we face.”

 The report slams food company health pledges as underwhelming and little more than a continuation of schemes that were being developed anyway by the Food Standards Agency until the Government took away its remit to work on nutrition and public health.

The conclusion these particular New Puritans arrive at is that the government must regulate - must force - food manufacturers to comply with their pseudo-science on food production, on salt content and on transfats. All in the cause of absolving parents from any responsibility for what they choose to put in their children's mouths.

The main target - a key to unlocking the whole denormalisation playbook - is the control of advertising:

We need a genuinely responsible approach to public health, including regulations to protect children from junk food marketing, and colour-coded front-of-pack nutrition labelling to help consumers, including children, make healthier choices.”

Once the selected products - essentially cheap, calorie-loaded, mass-produced food - are constrained in their ability to advertise and instructed in what they can put on their packaging, they are no longer "normal" products. This would allow the banning of some ingredients (for example, transfats, suar or salt), the introduction of taxes as a stimulant to behaviour change and the recategorising of the food manufacturers as "unethical" businesses.

The attack on advertising - essentially a curtailment of free speech - allows the New Puritan lobby to seem reasonable and permits those allowing their children to overeat to excuse their failure by blaming the adverts and the pester power of children. We should not allow any further restrictions of control and should instead be urging parental responsibility for a change.



George Speller said...

Every time I read one of these stories I light up and reach for a bag of crisps, if it's not too far away.

Anonymous said...

"The attack on advertising - essentially a curtailment of free speech". Mental.