Sunday, July 25, 2010

Five A Day?

Today I indulged in eight kinds of fruit (as well as a few veg): apple, banana, orange, raspberries, cherries, loganberries, blackberries and gooseberries.

One of the new government's latest short-sighted cut backs is to axe the Food Standards Agency. Inevitably the government has been accused of caving in to big (food) business and ignoring public health; indeed news of the FSA's demise came just days after Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, sealed a deal with the food industry.

The FSA spent years trying to introduce an easy-to-understand traffic light labelling system on food: red, amber and green labels on the front of food packaging to denote the levels of fat, salt and sugar contained in them. The food industry has spent an estimated £850m trying to block the scheme. Well, they've succeeded. Instead, politicians have backed a rival scheme backed by obesity- and baby death-causing multinationals Kraft and NestlĂ©.

Whether or not the Five a Day campaign is going to stay afloat remains to be seen. It already seems a struggle for many of us to manage one a day. Soon Kraft will be telling us that eating a Terry's Chocolate Orange a day counts as one of the five. In other countries in Europe, partially around the Mediterranean, seven a day is a natural average.

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