Will the new and intuitive food labelling scheme mean better food?

Friday 05 July 2013 

  • Does a new food labelling system mean better food?

  • More revelations about food subterfuge
  • Where can you find out what you SHOULD be eating?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could trust corporate Britain just a little more?

Maybe I’m alone in this but every time I see some new and innovative scheme announced I now look at it to see who is going to make money out of it?

This is because over the last few years we have become used to revelations about how banks, pharmaceutical companies and the food industry have taken us for a ride.

So when a ‘new and intuitive food labelling scheme’ was announced last week I resisted the urge to get the bunting out and weep tears of joy because our problems with rubbish food were over.

Rather than being something we can all cheer about, this initiative highlights a problem that's been infesting the food industry for years.

They don’t tell us the truth...EVER!

I've banged on about it (that seems to be my default mode when trying to get my point across) in past issues of The Good Life Letter, it's and something we should always bear

in mind when we're reaching for that foodstuff that's been branded 'healthy'...

...you have to picture the mind set of the person who has done the branding.

Junk food disguised as health food

Some of my favourite films revolve around a neat twist at the end.

You know the kind.

'So Auntie Mable, first you killed the milkman, then the gas inspector, then the entire staff at Aldi, just so you could avoid paying the bills.'

The room gasps.

'Oh Inspector Collins, you may be the brightest and most handsome detective in the South West who could easily have played for the British Lions* if you hadn't decided upon a career in policing, but even you have made a mistake this time. Auntie Mable wouldn't harm a fly.'

'No, maybe Auntie Mable wouldn't...' I'd agree, approaching the dear old lady whilst twizzling my moustache and eating my trademark kitkat, 'but this is NOT Auntie Mable. This is....'

The audience would hold their breath as I whipped of Auntie Mable's rubber mask...

'.... Simon Cowell!'

Okay. Maybe I won't make it in Hollywood as a script writer that's ANOTHER dream dashed), but the point I'm making is that things are not always as they seem. What appears to be a kind old lady is in fact, errrrrrrm.... a dodgy music producer and TV mogul.

And what appears to be healthy - in fact things that positively scream about how healthy they are, are sometimes the exact opposite.

Now, this is something you and I have known for some time.

It's also something I'm sure many doctors know, and many alternative health experts know.

But very few get the air time, or ‘oxygen of publicity’ as the business gurus call it (I’m sure that the hateful Cowell man would anyway!)

Anyway I digress...

...a new food labelling system is launched that will allow busy shoppers to ‘instantly’ determine which foods are high in fats, salt and sugar.

This highly publicised traffic light system is an improvement on the previous one and will be required for all foodstuffs placed on sale – says the food industry PR statements.

Who are they trying to kid?

Firstly, the ‘new and improved’ system is just as likely to be as confusing and unintelligible as the last one.

Secondly, even I don’t go round a supermarket with a special calculator in hand working out the complex maths needed to ensure that my family get all the correct nutrients but avoid overloading on any bad stuff.

And finally, can we really trust those who minced up horses and told us it was prime beef to come clean about what they are putting in their food? Assuming that they even know.

Surely it would be better just to STOP selling the stuff we all know is bad for us rather than put it in enticing packs, promote it in ‘food porn’ style TV ads and offer us ‘Buy One Get One Free’ deals.

But that would need the work of a politician... there may be hope on that count though!

Are the politicians listening to me?

For many a while now I have begun to think that some influential folk are beginning to pick up on what we are saying here at The Good Life Letter.

My suspicions were aroused again when on Wednesday The Guardian published a piece from Labour HQ saying that they had a new and beautiful dream for all of us.

Their policies would reflect the need for apple trees to grow next to tower blocks, vegetables to thrive on roundabouts and children to walk to school with a home grown carrot in their bag for lunch.

Mary Creagh, shadow environment secretary was quoted as saying;

“Councils should think "creatively" about social housing and other developments, to promote the growing of local food, as the UK was suffering from a "nutrition recession" that was being ignored by the coalition.

She said ensuring high-quality food for schools and hospitals must be one of the highest priorities: "We know how much of a difference this makes, so we should be taking steps to do something about it."

Surely I have heard that somewhere before...

...oh yeah, right here!

It was exactly this dream which was behind my decision to spend the last three years looking into the way we can use food to help support our health, why I wrote my seasonal cookbook – and why I am just about to launch its companion piece – “Everyday Superfoods.”

Any day now I will be writing to you to tell you about some real health gems you can get from choosing the right foods to eat, for instance;

  • A windy legume that should be included in the diet of every diabetic.
  • The freely available hedgerow fruit that helps protect the body from damaging ultraviolet light.
  • One of Scotland’s treasured fruits which is more effective than Ginkgo berries in preventing Alzheimer’s.
  • The rich black flavour bomb that is used widely in pain relief gels for arthritic conditions.
  • A fruit which has been shown to lower your risk of heart
    disease whose price is kept artificially high by supermarkets.
  • The budget priced green vegetable which packs more vitamin C than the hyped exotic berries available at high prices in health food stores.

And guess what, there is no need for bloody stupid traffic light labels, nutritional algebra or wise words from politicians – just a good source to get fresh food from...

...I’ll even help with that too!

*Final word... maybe!

It may not have escaped your notice but the British Lions (as mentioned in my dream above!) will take to the field in the third and deciding test in Australia with 10 of their 15 players being Welsh.

Now, for a proud man of the Principality, imagine how my heart is pounding – so much is at stake for my boys.

The problem is that due to a family commitment that takes me beyond the reach of civilisation for the weekend (i.e. Broadband internet) I will have to write and submit Sundays letter today, so won’t know what happens to gloat or apologise for!

All I can say is that it will be a hard fought game with the lads from the valleys spilling blood for the cause...

...I know it will be a real ‘Do or Dai’ game!

Yours, as always





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