Thursday, January 04, 2007

Food labels

In press parlance "a row has broken out today" between retailers (ie supermarkets) and the Governments own Food Standards Agency over the issue of labelling foodstuffs in order to inform us uninterested consumers of how likely said food is to kill us.

The picture (above) shows the retailers (ie supermarkets) idea of a food label - this is the Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) label and if it appeared (for instance) on a packet of cornflakes you'd see that said cornflakes would contain only 2% of the amount of salt you could eat in a day, according to the Food Standards Agency's own calculations - so you could eat 50 packets of cornflakes in that day, and indeed 50 more the next day if you wish, and in doing so would get all of the salt you need.

Mind, if you did that then you'd also have eaten 125% of your fat intake each day and 700% of your sugar intake, so maybe its not such a good idea to literally eat 50 packets of cornflake
s each and every day, have some variance in your diet, maybe try sugar puffs one day instead.

HM Government (ie the Food Standards Agency) is annoyed at the retailers (ie supermarkets) for not taking up their own recommended labelling system, the so-called "Traffic Light" indicator (left) where the levels of bad stuff are graded into green (ok), amber (not so ok) and red (really bad for you) indicators in order that us completely stupid consumers can glance at each packet for a few milliseconds and just buy the stuff with lots of green indicators.

So we're back to eating 50 packets of cornflakes a day then.

The whole point of both systems is of course to provide us all with information, personally I prefer the GDA method, only because it took me just two seconds to work out that I can eat 50 packets of cornflakes in a day (if indeed that label is from a cornflake packet, which I never said it was, for all I know cornflakes could be made entirely out of salt) - but regardless of what I think its plainly obvious that both retailers and government consider us to be fat, lazy and dying by the day from congested artery's, diabetes and congealed brains, to the extent where we have to be warned every day and every time we pick up a packet of food, what to eat and how much.

But are we really that unhealthy ?

Our grandparents lived completely different lifestyles to us, they had no supermarkets, they had very little pre-prepared, pre-packaged food, they had few ingredients that had been created in a lab and not naturally, few preservatives that were not sugar or vinegar, they ate vegetables to fill them up, they grew a lot of their vegetables and the vegetables that they bought in shops didn't come from factory farms that were fed on artificial fertilizers but instead came from local growers who fed their veggetables on shit.

Sounds like a Government Foods Agency plan for a healthy lifestyle ?

Not quite, our grandparents died at least 20 years before we do, our grandparents generation thought that 65 was a great age, if your lived to 65 you got a pension and then died through inactivity within a year or so, and that was your lot, you'd done well if you reached 65 and if you reached 70 you were being unfair to the rest of the country in drawing that pension and using your ration book.

So the truth is that we're eating badly compared to our grandparents, but we're living much longer - I'd be devastated if I died at 65, my grand-dad died at 64 and his gravestone states that "he had a good innings" (he was a keen cricketer) - why ?

Because I eat crap thats why, I'm overweight and sedentary but I'm thriving on it, my grand-dad fought in two wars, played cricket every weekend until he died, dug his garden over every couple of months, walked to work every day, and the poor bugger wore himself out before he drew his pension - its not right, humans aren't designed to be active all the time, we need our armchairs and TV if we are to live to 96 years of age and this retail and government campaign to get us to eat healthily is wrong, its all bollacks, we need those preservatives to preserve our internal organs - eat more crap, dine at fast food outlets three times a week, check the food labels for "e" numbers, you need them.

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