Government attacked? About time too!

According to a news article today, our Government is under attack for its crazy “healthy eating” deals with the food industry.  Well not before time!

The Government’s plan to fight obesity through voluntary deals with fast-food chains is founded on “pure illusion” and will lead to ever-worsening ill health in Britain, a leading expert claims today.

No kidding!  Just look at what I found on a (very!) rare visit to a Tesco superstore last week…(photo taken Monday 28th January, 13:21, Clifton Moor, York)

IMG00255-20140128-1321A whole aisle devoted to special offers was sited right in front of the main entrance – so the first thing you see when you walk into the store, is a startling array of junk all at bargain basement prices.  Now with headlines claiming that “three fizzy drinks per day could triple chance of heart disease“, just how voluntarily responsible does Mr. Cameron think his corporate chums will actually be? Because so far, really not so good Mr. Tesco! 

Tesco will proudly, and loudly, sell you a lot of poison for just £1 it seems. This, on a day when I filled my basket with organic vegetables and yoghurt to be given price-promise vouchers at the check-out because my shop would have been cheaper elsewhere, was too much to bear!  It absolutely highlights that if you are on a budget you can buy all the junk you need at £1 an item in Tesco, but if you wish to give your family real food, if you care enough to play your part in taking responsibility for your own health  – well sorry Tesco are nowhere to be seen!

The contradiction between the meaningless words and damaging deeds of the food industry is highlighted within the article:   Asked about the Government’s voluntary “responsibility deals” with industry, which the Department of Health claims “tap into the potential for businesses and other influential organisations to make a significant contribution to improving public health”, Professor de Vogli was scathing. “There is no question,” he said. “Big corporations have a mission to maximise profit. If we hope and expect that profit-driven businesses will safeguard public health, it is pure illusion.” 

Tesco_new_logoIn this example, Tesco are clearly on a mission to maximise their profits rather than to make any significant contribution to improving public health.  Could this be how they will fund their charitable donation promised to DiabetesUK? A member of my local DiabetesUK group recently told me that Tesco were their biggest charitable partner for 2013.  What a cynical move!!  Make a huge profit doing everything you can to encourage the consumption of the very products that cause the disease, and then claim credit for a relatively affordable contribution into the charity?

Could this really have been David Cameron’s aspiration in allowing these health-criminals to police themselves, and purport to wear halos at the same time?

On the same news day HRH Prince Charles gets involved in the argument about the quality of hospital food.  I have no disagreement with him – our patients do need good food – but good food at the point after illness has already developed is a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted… is it not?

How many hospital stays, how much disease could be prevented if our food choices weren’t at the mercy of Tesco and chums?

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