Shock discovery – the politicians are listening to us!

Friday 11th January 2013 

  • ‘Politics of Food’ thought influenced by the Good Life Letter... maybe!
  • But enough of me...you have your say
  • Big bucks and ringing tills for the big boys of food

Surely the politicians aren’t actually reading the Good Life Letter are they?

Hardly had the e-mail server finished buzzing last Friday than the news lines began to flash up a major story on the same subject.

Here was I calling for government action to prevent high sugar, high fat and plain poor quality food from entering the food chain...

... and there was a press release from the Labour party saying exactly the same thing a few hours later.

Blimey, that was a bit of quick work!

I’m not saying that Mr Milliband and his chums are waiting on my words to design their policies, but you have to admit that the coincidence was a touch close for comfort.

Anyway, I would like to see all Welshmen given access to tax rebates and free beer tokens... well I have to give it a try don’t I?

Needless to say I am not going to argue against the stance they have taken (even though they showed no sign of doing anything about it whilst in power), despite my claim for free beer.

I happen to feel that each individual makes a personal choice about the food they eat and the way they consume it.

I also would never stand in the way of anyone having the occasional guilty pleasure of a burger, bag of chips or a pizza.

The problem becomes when this type of food is seen as the norm or, even worse, a part of the daily diet.

When the true nature of what is on offer is not clearly displayed, how can anyone make an informed decision? We should know what ingredients they contain, where they were sourced and what their true nature is as a minimum.

Perhaps the worst sin is committed when the advertisers have the audacity to try to claim that what they are selling is in any way healthy, or wrap the drive to purchase in a vehicle designed to encourage ‘pester power’ by the kids.

This is the reason the burger chains give away plastic toys with their meals, and corporate food giants ally themselves to sports events, film launches or celebrity association.

Clever marketing or a cloak and dagger health risk - you decide.

But what have you been saying?

The thing I love about the readers of the Good Life Letter is that no-one is scared to have an opinion – or share it!

Since I started writing about the way our food supply is getting manipulated, our diet being compromised by get rich quick food outlets and our kids denied the simple pleasures of learning about good food you have spoken.

Many of you seem to agree with me, in the main, which is comforting.

But more interesting are those who are of the opinion that we have to make our own choices about food – and if an individual chooses to exist on take-aways and the like then they must suffer the consequences.

And this may surprise you, but I agree with that point of view too.

The issues still remain that;

a) We do not have enough truth about what we are being offered in order to make a decision

b) The manner of supply mechanism means that we don’t have access to fresh, local produce

c) Powerful marketing machinery works to deceive and confuse us, so that we don’t see what the companies behind them are doing by sleight of hand

d) Successive legislators have continually blamed the consumer for the problems of obesity and major disease such as coronary heart disease rather than those who cause the problem.

I’m only asking for the application of the principle that the polluter should pay for the consequences rather than the hapless consumer.

No doubt this viewpoint may pour petrol on the flames for some of you – but we have to realise that the politics of food is much more powerful than our democratic rights allow us to question and dictate.

We cannot vote for the kind of power that the corporate food giants hold in their hands, and indeed are able to wield against us should they choose.

How much of what you ate today was completely honest with you? Was there any sneaky genetic modification involved? Maybe a bit of high fructose corn syrup drizzled across your dinner? Or how about a nice glaze of chemicals sprayed over your ‘fresh’ vegetables in order to keep them shelf fresh for longer?

The kind of things I’m worried about concern many people, and I won’t claim to be a visionary in this respect – but it doesn’t diminish my passion for what is right.

What did Father Christmas deliver for the food retailers this year

A mixed bag would be the summary.

Of the big four retailers, Tesco, Sainsbury, M&S and Morrisons there was only the disappointment of a piece of coal and an orange for one of them – Morrisons posted a fall in sales.

Everyone else got the full train set and in Tesco’s case a Scalextric as well with increased sales over the six week period compared to last year.

Food is big business, and a growing business – and this is at a time when virtually every other industry is doing a Wylie Coyote impression by running in thin air over a fiscal cliff.

I don’t wish to keep on about all of this, but it does worry me that as I continue to look into the way our national diet is subject to molestation, the more obvious becomes the underhand methods used.

For the last two months I have been kicking over the stones of food manufacturing and retailing to see what lurks underneath them – and there are very few positive surprises.

It’s time for a warm cup of cocoa, my slippers and something soporific on television to help me calm down I think.

I’ll be back on Sunday with the details of a problem which can afflict us all, but us chaps rarely realise it until we suffer – it is not glamorous but I have made a fantastic discovery which links urinary tract infections with a character from a much loved children’s film.

“Oh you pretty Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang we love you!”

Intrigued? Best look out for the letter in your inbox.


Yours, as always

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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