Under regulations coming into force this month, broadcasters will be banned from advertising so-called "junk foods" during children's television programmes or in shows with a large proportion of child viewers, like The Simpsons and Hollyoaks. The ban is designed to reduce the exposure of children to foods high in fat, salt and sugar. It follows evidence that TV commercials have an indirect impact on children's eating behaviour and are contributing to the obesity epidemic.
So far, so good, you might say.
There is one tiny snag, though. The ban forbids mentioning food - but it doesn't prevent the advertising of brands, so McDonalds will still be able to advertise their restaurants so long as they don't actually show any burgers or chips.
And there is one other weeny problem, sad to say. The banned junk-foods include Marmite, Flora Lite, cheese, bran flakes, instant hot oat cereal, reduced calorie mayonnaise, multi-grain hoop cereal, creme fraiche, potato waffles, Greek yoghurt, ham, sausages, bacon, low-fat spreads, peanuts, cashew nuts, pistachio nuts, peanut butter, raisins, sultanas, currants, low-fat potato crisps, olive oil and butter (Diet Coke, on the other hand, is not banned. Great stuff, Diet Coke, even if it is a by-product of the petrochemical industry). Apparently if mother's milk could be marketed by Nestlé's or Kellogg's, that would count as a junk-food too.
All of which begs the very obvious question - what the f*ck are kids supposed to eat? Bloody grass?
The GOS says: There's a sinister kind of double-think at work here, almost worthy of George Orwell's "1984". The term "junk-food" has been hijacked, and used to mean something it doesn't mean. We all know that junk-food is disgusting burgers made out of all the bits of animals (lips, ears, nipples and toe-nails etc.) that we wouldn't normally eat, encased in a plastic bun laden with sugar, accompanied by plastic chips smothered in fat and a chemical cola that's been brewed in an enormous vat in a factory. But now, suddenly, "junk-food" means anything the tree-hugging anti-hunt environmental fascist bullies don't approve of - anything that doesn't include lentils and brown rice, probably.
The same thing's happened with that grand old British tradition, binge-drinking. Most of us thought it meant going out on a Friday night, getting rat-arsed on fifteen pints of lager and a bottle of Bacardi, showing our bums to a policeman, getting into a fight, losing our friends and throwing up in somebody's letter-box. But now overnight it's become, according to the government, drinking eight or more units (for men) and six or more units (for women) in one session.
Six units? That's what, three biggish glasses of Valpollicella? Christ, half the middle-class matrons in our village drink that much every night of the week, and nobody could accuse them of having any fun.
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