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Let us eat cake (and anything else we want)

Wearing my Free Society hat, I am spending the afternoon writing a speech for the Nutrition and Health conference at the Soho Theatre in London tomorrow. Supported by the British Sandwich Association and the Pizza, Pasta and Italian Food Association, the blurb reads:

Over recent years the food industry has been the target of increasing pressure from Government and the media to substantially reduce salt and fat levels in ready-to-eat foods. The same pressures are now starting to be applied to foodservice operations.

But just how far can retailers and food makers go before consumers start to reject products or the cost to industry becomes greater than the savings being sought in health care? Is the ‘nanny state’ approach really in the interests of consumers or is it eating into their rights of freedom of choice? Indeed, are we even correct to assume that everyone should conform to a fixed nutritional standard?

My session is entitled "Is freedom of choice not a consumer right?". I have to speak for 20 minutes and then answer questions.

I am told that "the conference has been designed to allow the food industry to hear the arguments from all sides and to debate some of the issues it faces in this context". If there are any specific points you want me to make, feel free to add a comment here. You have until midday Tuesday.

Reader Comments (6)

Well you could just mention that in countries such as France for instance, where they use a much higher level of salt, butter and cream in their cooking, the levels of heart problems with the population are much lower then here in the UK.

I am not a scientist and do not proffer to say that my answers are 100% correct, but I have a strong feeling that the better health of the average Frenchman lies within the recipe of simple happiness and having control of your own life. Something that has been slowly eradicated here during the last 13 years.

April 26, 2010 at 17:00 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

I thought you had covered it but the World Health Organization has just conceded that eating 5 portions of fruit andot vegetables has no impact on your cancer chances or mortality.

"Eating more fruit and vegetables has only a modest effect on protecting against cancer, a study into the link between diet and disease has found.

The study of 500,000 Europeans joins a growing body of evidence undermining the high hopes that pushing "five-a-day" might slash Western cancer rates.

The international team of researchers estimates only around 2.5% of cancers could be averted by increasing intake."

April 26, 2010 at 18:23 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Today, like so many other days over years past, there are a list of foods and ingredients that are bad for us, apparently.

As in the past, the fashion will change and those once deemed bad for us will suddenly become essential staples, whilst those previously pushed upon us as essential to good health will become poison.

Everything in moderation is the best, in my humble opinion!

My parents and grandparents generations have lived, mostly, good, healthy and long lives (too long for our governments benefit as they are running out of money to pay their pensions!). These same people were brought up on or around cigarettes, beer, fried breakfasts, dripping on toast, stews, bread pudding, jam roly poly and other suet based puddings, sweet and savoury, yet they live into their 80's, 90's and even 100's!

Perhaps their lifestyle, apart from being happy and content to live their own lives and make their own decisions, is the clue we should be looking at.

April 26, 2010 at 18:45 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

"Is freedom of choice not a consumer right?".

Yes - but ONLY to the extent that our owners think is good for us.

We allowed them these powers.

And the bastards won't give them up easily......

April 26, 2010 at 20:52 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Here we go again, the smoking ban, drink driving ban and now their honing in on food/obesity.
We all predicted this would happen after the smoking ban.
Just tell them to cut and paste/delete where necessary and insert the spin words for nutritician and health in place of the smoke/drink propaganda ones.

April 27, 2010 at 10:07 | Unregistered Commenterann

I have an increasing list of foodstuffs that I will not buy because their taste has become bland and boring. Fortunately for most of them I still have alternative choices. Given the mania to replace that choice with coercion, ordinary electric lightbulbs comes to mind, I often wonder how long it will be before the salt and fat police finally kill off everything our tastebuds enjoy. Whisky sandwich anyone?

April 27, 2010 at 10:25 | Unregistered Commentergrumpybutterfly

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