The food truck nation is fretting over AB 1678, a bill introduced into the California State Legislature on Tuesday a.k.a. Valentine's Day. But this was no love letter for fans of mobile food. The bill seeks to ban mobile food and beverage vending within 1,500 feet of elementary and secondary schools from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. when schools are in session.As the article describes, this is what it means for people in the State Capital, Sacramento.
A statement ... reads in part: "Mobile food vending poses a threat to student safety as well as student nutrition. Mobile vending near school campuses incentivizes students to leave school grounds, which increases students' exposure to off-campus hazards such as heavily trafficked streets."
Unless they burrow themselves away from populated areas (i.e. where there are shops, people and, err, schools), they can't operate. It's a cleverly couched ban as even observing the rules would mean such a loss of business that they would become non-viable.
For once, though, we can't laugh at California here, since we are already subject to the same stupid nonsense. I wrote about one such case in 2009, and there are plenty others easily discoverable on Google. California, the spiritual home of health twattery, is actually lagging behind our supposedly free nation.
And what for? The cult of Jamie Oliver and his junk food myth in schools and beyond. Or, as it should be properly termed ... Hoxton-esque snobbery.
A Big Mac contains less than 500 calories, not much more than a tuna sandwich but with less fat content, while the chips contain more vitamin C than apples, pound for pound. The drink? Well, one is 87% water and the rest sugar, and approved. Orange juice.
Caviar and anchovies are hugely salty, but if a top end restaurant opened up near a school, can you imagine their being banned as 'junk'? Course not, despite the rules being quite clear on what is, and is not, junk food based on fat, sugar and salt content.
OK, I know what you're thinking. Kids won't eat such stuff so it's not a threat. You'd be right, but if we are going to have arbitrary rules, let's place them on the food rather than who buys it. Otherwise we'll have something like ... oh yeah, that snobbery I mentioned.
And that's all this is.
Obesity? Do me a favour. Government, as always, dismisses human diversity without a care in the world, despite their spreadsheets and models missing something very important. Individuality and, well, nature.
And this is the most fascinating thing: if Nyström's small group are representative, then it would seem that our bodies are more adaptable than we give them credit for. In other words, metabolism may play a much more important role in the problem of obesity than many people think. Indeed, Nyström claims that for some people, eating 10% more will lead to their metabolism increasing at the same level. The extra energy will be burned off as body heat during sleep.Not convinced? Well, even if so, let's just remember - for a goddamn minute - why this obesity thing is apparently so important. It's the risk of death, remember.
Jamie - bless his arrogant money-grubbing heart - keeps talking about kids dying younger than their parents. Why does anyone buy this shit when it is patently false, and backed up by life expectancy statistics from every state agency in the developed world?
The difference between a few calories and fat here and there at school lunchtime means what, exactly? Well, nothing really. BMI is such a coarse method of measurement that the entire complement of six nations players would be termed obese, whereas someone unfit and lightweight like me passes with flying colours no matter how many kebab shops I have on speed dial.
And even if one subscribes to the ever-increasing waistlines theory (which hasn't been true for a few years), obesity itself isn't the problem. The small marginal increase in potential problems as a result of obesity is. And when the numbers are crunched, normal, overweight or mildly obese people have almost imperceptible differences in mortality - in fact, life expectancy for those overweight is slightly longer than those classed as 'normal'.
It is solely down to a finger-wagging attitude of what some people want others to eat. You've all met one of these ghastly idiots who swear about how appalling McD's is but consider a Starbucks Dolphin-Friendly Tuna Melt the height of taste (at 93 calories more than a Big Mac). In California, their 'big I am' attitude is now hell bent on destroying businesses based solely on their own spiteful prejudice.
The problem in the UK is that we have MPs in thrall to middle class health bigots who look down their noses at the food choices of others. If they were only able to step back from their circle-jerking bubble for a moment, slap themselves around the head and realise that they are here to serve the public rather than dictate. Oh yeah, and actually look at evidence which isn't fed to them by those with an agenda and/or a salary dependent on it, we might see some sensible government.
If any are reading, I suggest they purchase this book, as reviewed by Snowdon last year. They might actually learn something, while also bringing some relief from their wasteful, pointless, economically-damaging, and often counter-productive hectoring.