Tuesday 13 July 2010 By Jeff Nicols

Shoppers too stupid to buy actual food, say consumer groups


Advocates for healthy eating have hit out at Government’s decision to disband the Food Standards Agency, insisting that consumers will be forced to make terrible decisions about what food to buy without the help of traffic lights on the packaging or similar idiot-proof systems.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley explained the need to axe the department as part of ongoing cost cutting measures, telling reporters, “We genuinely feel that as a society we have reached the point where people can see a pie and realise it’s bad, and see some fruit and realise it’s good.  Well, we hope so.”

Speaking to reporters from a restaurant in Glasgow, one consumer argued: “Things were dumbing down to a level where I was actually beginning to understand what I was putting in my mouth. Now what am I supposed to do? In batter, yes please.”

The measures are a part of the Prime Minister’s plans to cut the national deficit, but critics think the savings will merely add to the nation’s obesity problem.

A government source stood by the measures, saying: “You can’t have your cake and eat it.  Well, you can, if you can tell it apart from a bowl of fruit without the help of some bright-coloured labelling.”

Cost

The agency spends £135m pounds and employs 2,000 people, many of whom will be retrained by the Health Service to care for the fast rising number of patients with type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Criticism from the opposition benches in Westminster has been particularly harsh.

“How can people make the right choices when they aren’t given clear and honest information up front?” said Harriet Harman, leader of the Labour party.

“We have always believed in giving people honest information, if you just ignore that short thirteen-year period where we won an election by a landslide victory on the promise of change before lying about taking the country into an illegal war.”

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