After last week’s Food Policy Officer non-job of the week, here’s another food related story that’ll do more harm to your health than a fry-up. Council health chiefs in Guildford have forced through a policy compelling burger vans and cafés to provide ‘healthy alternatives’. Yes, that’s right, because everyone goes to a burger van to buy a salad. Jumping on the nanny state health-fanatic bandwagon, Guildford Council has taken it upon them to dictate food policy to cafes and burger vans in their borough. They’ve even recommended what food to the vans should provide because, well, they know best.
Throughout the year the enviro-health Stasi will patrol the borough to inspect menus and see whether there are healthy alternatives on offer. Any traders who refuse to comply will have their trading license revoked when it next comes up for renewal. Ironically, just as the government try to incentivise businesses to stave off the worst effects of recession, traders in Guildford are threatened with closure.
In opposing this policy I’m not suggesting anyone solely eat from burger vans nor have fried breakfast’s three times a day. What I am opposing is the meddling in the marketplace and interfering with personal choice. Firstly, the market will decide if people want to eat healthy or not. If the cause moved by Jamie Oliver sweeps the nation, your fast food joints will become a rarity. The market will decide because it’s driven by the cogs of personal choice.
Similarly, if you choose to eat unhealthily, so be it, there’s a good chance you won’t live as long as if you had your 5 fruit and veg a day (so the doctor’s tell me, I’m about as unqualified at giving dietary advice as Guildford Council is). But why should our money be used to attempt to enforce a lifestyle on the British people? Think of where the money could rather go if your money wasn’t squandered on bureaucrats sent forth from Town Halls to look at menus all day.