Monday, 27 April 2015

Misguided Policy or Manipulation & Exploitation concerning health, commerce and freedom: Chocolate Bars and Fast Food

 Misguided Policy or Manipulation & Exploitation concerning  health, commerce and freedom: Chocolate Bars and Fast Food

Whilst buying a multi-pack deal of chocolate bars at a supermarket recently, on opening the packet, I noticed the deal was not as good as it first seemed to be, as the bars were small. I usually wouldn't have fallen for this, as being aware of these tricks, I feel the pack first to examine it (and find the wastage of packaging masking the reduced proportions inside...I guess the environmental responsibility claims are not as important as the health mantra deception). I have grown up with these bars and remember my father buying them for me on the way home from work. I didn't end up as a fat child due to this regular treat, as my parents did feed me more than chocolate bars, I did learn about nutrition, exercise, balanced diet, excessive eating, and dietary deficiencies at home, school and later in life as part of general education, experience and common sense.

However, I was not taught at school about economic exploitation under the guise of 'health' and excessive governmental interference in consumer and company choice under the guise of 'social and commercial responsibility'. I don't want my eating habits enforced on me. A gun doesn't kill someone, a human does and a chocolate bar doesn't make you fat, it is your use of it and the rest of your time.

When I buy a chocolate bar, I know roughly what I am buying, I know that it isn't supposed to be a health food or dietary staple. I am unaware of any traditional culture that advises abandoning the natural sources of fibre, minerals, vitamins, protein, complex carbohydrates and healthier fats while replacing them with manufactured confectionery. I am also unaware that the food manufacturers themselves ever offered such advice. The last time I checked human physiology and biological processes, it seemed that fats and sugars are bodily, biochemical, nutritional needs, they are not toxic alien invasions of the food chain. Yes, in excess, or without a balanced diet and exercise they may well contribute to a whole range of health issues, but this maybe the case with many things. As long as a manufacturer does not deceive the customer and advertise a product as serving a function it it does not, nor misrepresenting its content and nature, nor directly recommending harmful usage levels, then there should be no problem. You can after all, drink too much water, so will the government start rationing supplies on this basis? Should all desserts in restaurants be replaced with fruit salads, but only small ones due to the fructose sugar content?

To say there is too much sugar in a chocolate bar is a little like saying there is too much potato in chips. Perhaps the government and manufacturers need to be reminded "This is a CHOCOLATE BAR,it is not excessive calorific content...because, it is a CHOCOLATE BAR...this is what any rational person would expect of a chocolate bar." What reaction did they want? "Oh! We can't believe it, they have been putting sugar all this time in the chocolate bars?!" Perhaps this idiocy is an extension of the general dumbing down of the education system and swapping the original meanings of words for opposite meanings.

There should be freedom in the manufacturer's development of their selection of products, along with their sizes and ingredients unless directly harmful. Equally, there should be freedom from interference between the manufacturer, supplier, retailers and consumer in such transactions. We know the government will find this concept difficult as seeing as it already interferes with the oppressive usurping of 20% of each such transaction under the absurd misnomer of 'value added tax'...

If portion sizes are being reduced, somebody might end up eating more than they originally wanted, as they might buy two instead of one to fulfil their want. More importantly, if portion sizes are reduced then the price has to match the reduction otherwise this is exploiting and duping the customer under the dubious guise of "we are making you healthy." In reality a poorly concealed ruse to snatch more money for less product, a wicked collaboration of government and big business disguised as altruism and health policy. Indeed, if this new government-business collaboration is not sinister it is at least ludicrous and misguided. Sweets are treats and not meant to be the main-meal, no business is advocating eating their confectionery for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If some people are irresponsible concerning their own health and diet or that of their children, then these people need assistance with education or decision making if that is their problem. The answer to this isn't to punish and restrict manufacturers and consumers for their normal behaviour and restricting their access to products that meet their needs, preferences or desires. We announce today that there are some irresponsible parents down your street who made their children sick with sweets and therefore to save you all, none you can any longer buy what you want! What happened to freedom of the market place, consumer choice, products that reflect the diverse needs and desires of the market? It seems the uniform social engineering (via media and education) extends to dietary engineering, maybe soya milk will replace dairy milk...not too far away from the apocalyptic nightmare invoked by the dystopian 1970's movie 'Soylent Green' (don't read any reviews or trailers before you watch it).

To announce that manufacturers will be forced into making their products more healthy, less calorific via reduction of portion sizes sounds like some parody of an Orwellian society or totalitarian joke. "We have made this chocolate bar healthier by giving you less!" This is like saying "A kilogram of sugar will no longer have the calorific content of a kilogram, because it will be reduced to 500grams!" But what if I want a kilogram? You have reduced the chocolate bar so it has less calories, but I am buying it because I want a full bar and perhaps the calories too, it is then up to me whether I eat it all now, share it or save some for later. So no matter who you are now, no matter what your needs, tastes and preferences matter whether you are 7years old and two stone in weight or 30 years old, 6ft 5 and 14stone in weight, the government has decided that you will all have the same small chocolate bar. In another era this so called responsible partnership between government and manufacturers might be called communism, or something close to it. If there is so much concern for sugar and obesity and it's connection with chocolate bars, then why not restrict consumers to one bar a week or ban them altogether? Indeed such a measure would be ridiculous, but who is drawing these lines and on the basis of what?

This is all being done for us supposedly. Why not go one step further, as soon as I take one bite, snatch the bar off of me and give it to someone else then tell me you are doing it for my health and my character by making sure I am sharing with others. 

Along the same lines we have fast food retailers being forced to offer salads and health options. Well if they want to supply that then fine, but I don't go to a fast food restaurant necessarily for health reasons, I go because I desire what they are known for offering. If they can offer the same, for the same price, taste and texture but more healthily then very good, we are all winners. But if it is at the cost of taste and texture, then this is effectively the government saying "No more burger and chips for you...only wholemeal pasta and salads now." I am all for, burgers being offered in wholemeal buns, I think they will taste just as good, along with the garnish and sauces, but perhaps they will not sell so well, so no-one should be forced, we don't want more piles of wasted food. Will we be forced to have semi-skimmed milk? We don't want to get fat do we? I don't like semi-skimmed, I want milk as it was originally 'milked'...but it seems we are the ones getting milked!

What will be enforced next? Cars with only capacity for 50 miles worth of petrol? "We are doing good for the environment and your journey cost savings, you can only travel 50 miles at a time." It wouldn't be long before we expect to hear "We have removed all the frightening content from this horror movie so all sensitive characters can enjoy it."

If the government is so concerned with the health of people, then they should stop dropping bombs on people and stop promoting their exploitation with the facilitation and promotion of so called 'financial services' i.e. robbing people of their wealth via insurance and usurious banking, they can also stop robbing people of 30-50% of their income or wealth via the plethora of exorbitant taxes. There seems to be a lot less rules concerning consumer protection from the sale of gold bars than there are for chocolate bars.

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