Scaring Us for Our Own Good
By Bernice Hurst, Managing Director, Fine Food Network
Apparently impressed by the results of scaring us all with pictures showing the possibility of an unpleasant death due to smoking, the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) now wants to scare us to death about the horrific effects of enjoying food that we have been raised to believe results in strong bones and healthy bodies.
As reported in the Daily Telegraph, the FSA plans to persuade the public to reduce consumption of saturated fats by adhering to research that showed “shock tactics such as graphic images of furred blood vessels and fat deposits were the best way to change people’s diet.” A report presented by CMI Research claimed that “dramatizing the amount of saturated fat in foods in an unexpected and unappetizing way proved effective.”
With obesity and heart disease rates rising, the drive is aimed at reducing the consumption of saturated fats. The FSA denied it was considering putting warnings directly on packaging, and said it still had a wide range of consultations to make before deciding how best to convey its message.
One message being trialed points out that two slices of buttered toast contain more saturated fat than four doughnuts, and that one cheese sandwich contains more than half the daily amount of saturated fat.
Not surprisingly, dairy suppliers are less than pleased, responding that over-simplified messages might do more harm than good especially as calcium is an important part of a balanced diet. Even the National Obesity Forum’s spokesman urged caution. “Any warning would have to be carefully worded to make clear that dairy products are not unhealthy foods, they should be eaten in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet.”
Frequently overweight columnist and sometime chat show hostess, Vanessa Feltz, believes the exercise would be counter-productive. Summarizing her opinion in the Daily Express, she declared “Sticking a ‘FORBIDDEN’ label on foods will serve the same function as the locked sweets drawer or ‘Sundays only’ chocolates rule. It will make those foods trebly enticing.”
Discussion question: What do you think of the idea of using scare tactics in public service spots to frighten consumers away from using fatty or otherwise unhealthy foods?
- Drive against consumption of saturated fats – Telegraph
- WARNINGS BY THE FOOD POLICE JUST WON’T WORK – Daily Express