Sunday 20 February 2011

Someone Please Ask The Health Secretary To Look At Some Evidence

The Devil has performed a superlative filleting (please do go read) of this staggering gullibility from Andrew Lansley in the face of pressure from public health tax-spongers (I'll give him at least a smidgeon of benefit of the doubt).

Restaurants and work canteens will put calorie counts on menus and food manufacturers will promise to cut down on salt and artificial fats under a set of agreements to be announced today.

The three voluntary “responsibility deals” agreed with the food industry are aimed at helping the public to eat more healthily, in a drive to tackle the growing problem of obesity among both adults and children.
DK has quite rightly objected to the further employment - by the administration which promised repeals and freedoms, no less - of Labour's trusted tool, the compulsory order disguised as a 'voluntary' agreement.

But while Lansley's chosen devious process can accurately be condemned as illiberal, the basis for such proposals can only be termed as ill-informed and crashingly idiotic. Perhaps Lansley should spend more time on a Saturday reading my Link Tank articles as he might have spotted this from January, if so.

Ariely cites studies conducted in New York City after the city passed legislation forcing fast-food restaurants to post caloric information for consumers to see. The studies looked at the effect the information had on fast-food consumption.

"They saw no effect," he says. "In one study, it actually went the other way around. People said, 'Hey, only 800 calories! Give me fries with that.' "

Ariely says Duke University also conducted a similar study. He says they posted caloric labels at "the Duke version of Panda Express," a fast-food version of Chinese food. And they saw "absolutely no difference" in caloric consumption.
Yep, that's right. No effect whatsoever. In fact, in certain cases it led to more calories being consumed.

And if Lansley had read a link I posted only yesterday, he would have been educated even further as to the moronic nature of his quite absurd pronouncements.

Researchers who studied menu choices at four fast-food restaurant chains before and after mandatory labeling took effect in New York City said the legislation did little to lower calorie consumption.

"We didn't notice a change in calories purchased before and after labeling [went into effect]," said study leader Dr. Brian Elbel, assistant professor of medicine and health policy at the New York University School of Medicine and Wagner School of Public Service.
So Lansley is proposing regulations which will inflict costs on businesses ... without any concrete evidence that they will have any beneficial effect.

That's that brilliant set of minds in government for you, eh?

As for salt, the Devil has pointed out the ridiculous - and potentially dangerous - nature of Lansley's fuckwittery already.

Might I remind everyone that salt—in this case, sodium chloride—is absolutely essential for nerve function? If you do not get enough salt, you will die: if you eat rather more salt than you need then... Well, it does nothing much at all.
Quite. And if Lansley enjoyed the benefit of half decent researchers (or if one just read the odd article here at Dick's pad), he would have been informed that the entire anti-salt industry is a huge conglomerate consisting of ... one very sad geezer with a longstanding fixation.

I looked into CASH a while ago and vaguely remembered that they received paltry income while paradoxically enjoying huge media interest. It also struck me that they were working out of someone's office in Tooting.

That someone didn't concern me at the time ...

Prof Graham MacGregor, of St George's Hospital, in Tooting, South-West London, welcomed the move but added: "Why do they need to put salt on the chips at all? Why not leave them as they are and let customers sprinkle on what they want?"
Hmm, interesting.

But the BBC article says he is from the "Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine".

Funny enough, so now is the HQ of CASH.

Principal address:
Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine,
Charterhouse Square,
London ECIM 6BQ
So it would seem that this entire organisation consists of Graham MacGregor and, err, a couple of mates.

Voluntary income is from tin-rattling sources such as the Food Standards Agency, Nissan, the Co-Op and OMC Investments. They did raise £717 themselves from selling old stuff, though, it has to be said.

CASH, and dictating the lives of others, is just Graham's little hobby.
A very well paid hobby too, it would seem, and one which is capable of hoodwinking offensively stupid cabinet ministers into the bargain.

Yet again we see evidence-free policy-making from those who puff their chests out and pose as state intellectuals, despite not appearing to possess any semblance of critical objectivity no matter how much of our stolen money they have at their disposal.

The Devil summed it up quite well with a very pertinent question.

Is anyone else ashamed at the fact that Lansley and his ilk claim to represent us?
Don't all put your hands up at once.


Anonymous said...

"And if Lansley enjoyed the benefit of half decent researchers (or if one just read the odd article here at Dick's pad),"

Perhaps his researchers are products of our new improved education system. You know the ones, can't read, can't write, can't count but can watch the BBC.

George Speller said...

Presumably it's CASH so he can pocket the proceeds any cheques?

Woodsy42 said...

People who are not fat, and who may be doing a physically demanding job need calories, so it's perfectly reasonable that some people choose the higher calorie options

PT Barnum said...

And, to supplement Anon's point, this whole project depends on people knowing what a calorie is or how many is a lot. I would not be in the least surprised to learn that some think that the more calories there are, the better the food is for them.

And what the heck is an 'artificial fat'?

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. The battle goes on between the anti-alcohol and the anti-obesity lobbies to become the Coalition’s “new best friend.” I don’t think this CASH lot have much of a hope. The government have still got some work to do finishing off the pub industry through increasing restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol to be interested in casting their nets wide enough to include eating-houses as well, and they probably haven’t got the money to fund two separate lobbies anyway. I think that CASH and any associated anti-obesity groups are going to have to wait their turn, just like the anti-alcohol lobby had to wait until the government had no further use for the anti-smoking lobby before they got any real attention or any promised share of all that lovely funding.

Give it up, CASH. Your time has yet to come ……

Anonymous said...

One rarely sees the really, really important point about salt.

If we do not have salt, we will die. But it is almost a magical thing that excess salt is excreted by the human body, either through perspiration, wee or poo. Is this not obviously true? Why is it never pointed out? Of course, if one continuously shovels salt into one's body, it will not have time to excrete it, and it would be right to point this out, but the condemnation of salt, in itself, is unbelievably dangerous!

About six months ago, my grandson said, "Granddad, I do not have salt on my meals any more." Needless to say, I continued to sprinkle some salt of his meals.

Bill Sticker said...

First Smoking,
Then Drinking,
Now Eating,
Breathing already covered by 'carbon taxes'

Whatever will the control freaks go after next? - Sex? A bonk a day helps you work rest and play? Perhaps not. Perchance "Say no to nightly nookie"? Who can tell with these people?

When do they get told to STFU and leave everybody in peace?

JuliaM said...

"Perhaps Lansley should spend more time on a Saturday reading my Link Tank articles..."

Aha! I KNEW I'd spotted an article somewhere on the net that pooh-poohed the efficacy of this! It was driving me mad trying to remember where...

Mr A said...

Some fun.

Remember how ten years ago thousands put down their religion as Jedi? Well, we have a new census coming up, so let's put down our religion as "smoker." Tobacco Control are leading an inquisition. Let's just highlight that fact.

Whether you want to just deny them the information that they demand from you by force or you just want to raise this issue in public once again and remind them that it is not going away, let's have some fun.
Spread the word.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Lansley should piss off and shut up.
Not a day passes without some utter twat telling me what to eat drink or of course smoke.
When there is not enough money for many people to even heat their houses one of the few joys left is a drink, some red meat (rarely) and a smoke.
I now intend to do all them them today.

orcman said...

Out of 241K "voluntary income" 200K was given by OMC Investments Ltd, a propoerty developemnt and investment company whose principal business is, according to its website, based in central London.
Does anyone have a clue why a property developer should have such an interest in dietary salt? Well it's their money I suppose but if I were a shareholder I'd be asking the question.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX So Lansley is proposing regulations which will inflict costs on businesses ... without any concrete evidence that they will have any beneficial effect. XX

He is so up his own arse, that he thinks there is NO possibility in this world that people will not take HIS advice, and take a bloody calculator and spend two hours working out their calorie count every time they go to a Mc Dogburgers.

What these arseholes just CAN not face, is that NO bastard listens to them any way.

Anonymous said...

High salt intake has been linked to hypertension and other illnesses. However, low salt intake is also harmful. It's vital to have the right balance in your body.

I don't see what harm there is in pointing out the constituents of your food, especially if you're on a low-sodium diet for medical reasons.

To insinuate that people who don't smoke are fat is ignorant and insulting. It's true that those who quit are likely to gain weight, but conversely there are plenty of obese people who also smoke.

banned said...

Excellent scheme by Lansley
"People said, 'Hey, only 800 calories! Give me fries with that.' "; I'll be able to get max calories for my hard earned pound in much the same way that printing alcohol % on labels allows me to get pissed as cheaply as possible.

BB said...

Some of Lansley's advisers - well, at least one :-) - do read your blog, and DK's. Sadly, however, none of his other advisers want to listen when these things are pointed out... and even defend the outrageous fake charity funding (although that might end because of the cuts! Yay!). Might have something to do with most civil servants being Guardianista lefties... time for their stupid 'diversity' laws to be turned against them, e.g. the civil service must represent broader 'society', v few of whom read pinko shite...?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Dick, keep up at the back.

Yes, this may largely be just bansturbation for the sake of it, but think about the relative cost and hassle on e.g. McDonalds and yer local chip shop.

For McD's it is absolutely no hassle adding an extra line on their packaging to say how many calories are in the food (not that anybody will read it or take notice), but for yer local chip shop which serves stuff in plain bags it is going to be really difficult to comply.

So, as with most of this stuff, the measures called for will be very effective indeed... at raising barriers to entry and giving larger chains a further relative advantage.

Disclaimer: I like McDonald's, Burger King, KFC and so on and bear them no will will.

Ian R Thorpe said...

Actually I feel a bit sorry for minsters as I did for those hapless Labourites who were in giovernment through the final years.

The constant whining of the politically correct wusses about how essential it is for government to save us fromourselves must wear them down very quickly

Dick Puddlecote said...

BB: Very intriguing comment, thanks for that. :)

MW: Exactly, I originally intended to mention the huge relative cost of lab assessments of certain foods too. McD's etc will pay for the test and apply calorie info (if they haven't done so already) over thousands of stores, Mr Bloggs in his family-run chippy will pay for the same service but it will be a much larger percentage of his income. It can only further add to the homogenisation of 'the High Street'. :(