And what is our reaction to this?

The ubiquity of new year diets and detoxes could extend beyond January and last all year, thanks to the Government’s latest suggested health guidelines. Public Health England (PHE) is demanding a “calorie-cap” on supermarket ready meals and fast food dishes.

The suggested ruling, which may come into effect in March, would limit breakfasts to 400 calories and lunches and dinners to 600 each.

Ruling? By whom? And under what powers and authority to enforce?

Of course, there’s an answer. BOGOF.

Two headlines

Cadbury criticised for selling variety box containing just eight biscuits

Sugary drinks banned from sale in NHS hospitals from July

So, we reducing sugar intake or not? And are’t people arguing for a sugar tax to do so? You know, people eat less of more expensive things?

Blimey, that’s a shock!

John Torode: Millennials are changing what we eat

As does every generation passing through this life.

It’s entirely possible that Torode, in his professional life, has never served a plate of what 1950s Britain would have called “food.” Probably for the better, true, but still.

Another tiresome variation on apres moi la deluge.

On this losing weight subject

I’ve lost quite a lot. And kept it off for some years, apparently the difficult thing to do.

Really, what I did was stop drinking fizzy pop.

Oh, bit more exercise, maybe, but not really. Little less booze but not particularly. And really, no change in food, not very much.

Umm, so, err, what’s all this difficulty then? Cut out the 400 to 800 calories from the soda and what else needs to be done?

Now this is amusing

Daily calorie consumption should be reduced to 1,800 calories a day, according to new health guidelines.

The current recommendation is for women to consume 2,000 calories a day and men 2,500 as part of a balanced diet.

But a new Public Health England (PHE) campaign next year is expected to recommend a ‘400-600-600’ rule. That means restricting food intake to 400 calories for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 600 for dinner.

An additional two healthy snacks of up to 100 calories each are permitted, bringing the total to 1,800 calories overall.

According to the government, adults currently consume an average of 200 to 300 more calories per day than they should.

That good man, Chris Snowdon, has something to say about this. But then so do I.

Let us assume, not necessarily a valid assumption but let us assume, that they’re right here.

This then tells us that Public Health England is entirely wrong about everything else they say about food. It’s not sugar, it’s not processed food, it’s not unhealthy food it’s simply the amount. We’re all fat because we consume more calories than we expend.

For, note something about historical diets. Back in WWII it was noted, during rationing, that those who got fewer than 2,900 calories a day lost weight. WWI frontline rations were 4,400 a day.

If PHE now says that it’s calorie intake which is the problem then it’s calorie intake which is the problem, isn’t it? Or, the balancing item, calorie usage.

Even, as I’ve been saying for some time now, it’s central heating to blame for us all being fatty lardbuckets.

This very insistence on calories is the very thing showing that all the other malarkey is wrong.

Costs and benefits

Scottish farmers have been told that reintroducing lynx or wolves in Scotland would be “an absolute catastrophe”.

A study visit to Norway by a delegation from the National Farmers’ Union, (NFU) Scotland comes as moves to introduce the wild cat species north of the border gather pace.

The delegation heard that more than 20,000 sheep had been killed by predators such as lynx in Norway in the past year alone.

Hmm.

The Norway delegation heard that of all the sheep killed last year, lynx accounted for 21 per cent of losses, compared with 34 per cent for wolverine, 21 per cent for bears and 9 per cent for wolves.

So, 4,000 sheep then.

Out of 700,000 ewes.

0.5% of the population. Is that a lot or a little?

I thought sheep died of near any damn thing whenever they got the chance…..

Not a success then

“The marketing: ‘The Giant Cheese Board’, “a massive, oversized cheese board. One you can walk around on as if you’re in a giants kitchen” – the best artisan cheeses from across Europe, including a huge baked Camembert, unlimited mulled wine, cheesecake and double-size fireplaces. The reality: plates of chopped up British cheeses, mostly hard, some caterers packs of chutney, no Camembert (baked or not), queues for cold and very sweet ‘low alcohol’ mulled wine, no cheesecake, and a screen projecting the image of a fire. Hmm.”

All for £30 a head.

If the suppliers gave you the cheese as advertising, a potentially very profitable event. If you had to pay or it perhaps not so much.

So, it’s not the sausages then

The humble sausage sandwich could contain nearly two-thirds of an adult’s maximum daily recommended intake of salt – more than a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and large fries, a health group has warned.

Yes, of course these are the argle bargle targets which don’t mean anything anyway.

The survey found that the average salt content of sausages was 1.3g per 100g, or 1.16g per typical portion of two sausages – a figure that has remained relatively unchanged since 2011, exceeding the salt reduction targets in place at that time. The maximum daily recommended intake for an adult is 6g.

The saltiest sausages were Iceland’s Jumbo Pork range, at 1.28g each, but that went up to 3.78g including the ingredients for a sandwich, compared with 3.22g for a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and large fries.

Ah. There’s salt in bread, isn’t there? It’s not the damn sausages in the first place.

And I’m sorry, but really, that’s what they’ve done. A sausage sandwich (two sausages per serving) has in the sausages one sixth to one third of the daily recommended salt allowance.

BTW, who is it that tells us about salt in bread? Err, yes, the same people talking about these sausage sandwiches.

Bollocks, complete, unmitigated, bollocks

The chief executive of Chapel Down, an official wine supplier to 10 Downing Street, has said Britons will “starve” if the door is closed to foreign fruit pickers after Brexit.

England’s biggest winemaker, based in Kent, relies on EU workers to pick grapes for its drinks, which also include beer, cider and gin.

In comments that are likely to cause embarrassment for No 10, the Chapel Down boss, Frazer Thompson, said: “The biggest potential impact of Brexit is on agricultural labour. Kent has had eastern Europeans picking fruit in recent years, but we’ll all starve if the labour issue is not sorted after Brexit.”

Trade.

Imports of food are actually the import of the labour used to grow the food.

He’s spouting complete bollocks.

Well, no, not really

They are a much loved late-night snack for revellers as they flock home at the end of a night.

But the future of the kebab is now hanging in the balance, after it emerged that the high street delicacy may be banned from Britain under European Union plans to combat heart disease.

A move by the European parliament to ban the phosphates necessary to keep seasoned kebab meat moist and flavoursome is said to pose a risk to kebabs.

They’re not necessary. They’re “necessary” only in the sense that meat cot off and being store until served needs to be kept moist. Somewhere that cuts off the, ermm, whatever the technical word for the stack of meat is, to order don’t need it. But this is wrong, wrong, wrong:

“Doner kebabs are a much loved staple in takeaways up and down the country and have been enjoyed since the 8th century BC.”

Complete bollocks. The doner kebab dates from around 1974 in Germany. There’s a certain little argument about precedence between two Turkish gastarbeiter but we do know that’s where it all started.

Bread and meat, salad on the side, sure, 8,000 BC. Sticking it all together into a sandwich, 1974-ish. And it’s the sticking it all together which is the doner. The real lesson of all of this being quite how long innovation can take…..

I fully approve of this

Britain is enjoying a remarkable apple boom, as hundreds of new community orchards revive lost varieties and contribute to a thriving heritage market.

According to Steve Oram, who is the apple diversity officer at the wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species: “We are adding new orchards to the register all the time. Some are in allotments, others in schools and even housing developments.

“After the postwar years of neglect and destruction, when 90% of the UK’s orchards were lost and supermarkets sold only a few varieties and imported 70 to 80% of their apples, it is very exciting.”

The Newquay community orchard in Cornwall was started in 2015 with a £66,000 crowdfunding appeal. More than 2,000 trees, including 120 local heritage varieties, have been planted on land donated by the Duchy of Cornwall.

Wholly and fully – as long as they’re doing what it says on the tin.

If people want little orchards of native (well, you know) apples then people should have little orchards of native apples. As long as, of course, they’re creating and maintaining those little orchards of native apples at their own expense. This is, after all, what liberalism means, that the peeps get to do what the peeps want. And if we’re to add some Burkean conservatism so that it’s the little platoons sorting it out for themselves then all the better.

As long as no one is being forced to pay for this through taxation then what could possibly be the problem?

At another level this is climbing Maslow’s Pyramid again. At one level of income we’ll take fruit in the only way we can, seasonally and in a limited manner. We get richer, technology advances, we can have apples year round – but that does mean trade, commercially sized operations and the inevitable limited selection. We get richer again and now we’ve more than sufficiency, let’s have that variety back again.

After all, it’s not as if we’re not seeing this right across the food chain, is it?

That roast beef of Olde Englande was most certainly better than the bully beef from Argentina or the Fray Bentos pie. As is the best grass fed British beef of today. But we moved through the cycle to get from most not being able to eat any beef, to all being able to have bad beef, to now again thinking more about the quality – we have a more than sufficiency of beef and can be picky about it.

Some people just don’t like efficiency, do they?

There’s plenty you could do to make it a more sustainable industry. You could slow the growing time and give birds more room on farms, using less engineered breeds that take 12 weeks, rather than just over a month to reach slaughter weight. That would help curb some of the cruellest aspects of the business, which see densely packed, overbred birds, prone to disease and bacterial infection, collapsing under their own weight. But that would cost more. In the factory you could slow the speed of the lines, so that cross-contamination of carcasses was less likely, and workers’ jobs less relentlessly tough and unpleasant, thus easing the pressure to break hygiene rules and making the sector more attractive to local staff. But that, too, would cost more.

We know roughly how much more, since the top end of organic production already does these things, and a posh chicken from that sort of outlet is three to four times as expensive as a conventional supermarket one. But there are hardly votes in arguing we should pay that much for our chicken. Politicians dare not say it for fear of sounding Marie Antoinette-ish. But the price of cheap is too high, and we should probably be eating something else.

Felicity Lawrence in The Guardian. We should all be paying much more for our food because…..well, actually, because Lady Muck here thinks it’s all too cheap.

Not unusual at all

‘It’s good, but it’s not quite Carling,’ according to the advertising slogan.
As it turns out, it’s not as good as it says it is on the label.
The company behind the lager has dodged a £50 million tax bill because the drink is weaker than advertised.
Carling is marketed in Britain at 4 per cent alcohol strength, but brewers Molson Coors have admitted it is weaker for tax reasons. Court documents reveal the lager has been made to a strength of about 3.7 per cent for the past five years.
But Molson Coors did not change the strength recorded on Carling labels to prevent drinkers from ‘demanding a slice’ of the saving, tribunal documents said. The brewer insists customers have not been misled and its labelling was ‘entirely consistent with the law’.
The details emerged in a tax tribunal brought against the beer makers by HMRC over an alleged unpaid multi-million-pound duty bill.

There was, back in the heyday of the plastic beers, one which was withdrawn from sale once the strength had to be publicly announced. It was brewed to a strength where it wasn’t really alcohol you see, at least not in what duty had to be paid although it was sold in pubs at something close to the price of other beers.

Firefighters only delay the inevitable

The 18 piglets and two sows survived the fire in Wiltshire in February, which saw 60 tonnes of hay catch fire.

The animals were given a six-month stay of execution when they were rescued from the farm at Milton Lilbourne.
But, having been reared for meat they have since been slaughtered and the sausages were delivered to the fire station team, which barbecued them.

And yes, they were delicious.

I think though it was “some” of the 18 piglets, not all – be a bloody big fire station which could have eaten the lot.

Well, of course

British retailers have called for the government to take tougher action on tackling obesity and consider mandatory measures to ensure more companies make their products healthier.

Public health bosses have urged food manufacturers to make chips, pizzas, crisps and burgers healthier, and ministers are expected to issue “strong guidance” on how to reformulate products popular with children.

However, the British Retail Consortium, which represents more than 90 retailers including major chains Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer, said the government would need to move beyond voluntary agreements if it wanted to make a real difference.

“We believe voluntary approaches only take us so far,” said Andrea Martinez-Inchausti, deputy director of food and sustainability at the BRC.

“If you really want to make a difference then there is a need for stronger measures. Taxes might be one of way of doing it but there are alternatives to taxes such as mandatory targets.”

To translate. We know the demanded changes will make everything taste like shit. So, none of us will do it voluntarily, fearing loss of business. You know, the punters just don’t like stuff that tastes of shit.

So, force everyone to do it.

Meurig can bugger off quite frankly

The NFU has called on the government to grasp Brexit as an opportunity to reverse a steady decline in self-sufficiency over the past 30 years.

The farming union said that with the right support it would be easy to replace the salad mountain imported from east Africa, pork from countries such as Denmark and New Zealand, and beef and dairy from other EU countries such as Ireland.

“We’re not advocating a fully self-sufficient nation – we recognise the need for importing food which can only be produced in different climates. But what we should be doing is maximising on the food production we are good at,” said Raymond.

At which point they say this:

The NFU said farming was such an important contributor to the economy – generating 3.9m jobs and revenues of £109bn a year – that the government needed to recognise the sector’s needs.

Lies, flat out lies.

That’s the whole food and booze sector. Almost all of which would exist with or without farming anything at all in Britain. Actual British farm production is more like £9 billion, tops. And then there’s this:

The NFU said it wanted a clear transition period after Brexit, during which the UK will remain in the customs union, that the UK remained within the external tariff area, which would guard against the country being flooded by cheap imports of questionable quality.

So we’re going to continue to import lots of our food but it must remain expensive eh Meurig?

Sorry, bugger off.

Sigh

The research shows that 47% of the children receiving supplies from food banks were aged 5-11, while 27% were under five and a fifth were aged 12-16.

Samantha Stapley, operations manager for England at the Trussell Trust, said the statistics highlighted “just how close to crisis many families are”.

She added: “As a nation, we also must address the reasons why families with children are referred to food banks in the first place. We welcome the government’s decision to maintain free school lunches for children during term time – the next step must be to help families during the holidays.”

The Rt Rev the Lord Bishop of Truro, Tim Thornton, described the figures as shocking, adding: “That so many primary-age children are going without food in our country is of great concern.

The number of people being fed from food banks is the number of people who are not going hungry in this country. Because they’re being fed from food banks.

Am I little endian or a big endian?

Been given some lovely fresh eggs, thus soft boiled eggs this morning. Not really something I’ve eaten for decades. Which leads to the existential problem, am I little or big endian? This is, as we all know, an important decision.

So far, having had two yummies, all I can say is that further research is required.

Anyone seen this report by Tim Lang?

The Guardian doesn’t mention the name of it at all. Not even which groupuscule publishes it:

The government is “sleepwalking” into a post-Brexit future of insecure, unsafe and increasingly expensive food supplies, and has little idea how it will replace decades of EU regulation on the issue, a report by influential academics has said.

The study says ministers and the public have become complacent after decades of consistent food supplies and stable prices for the UK, something greatly helped by the EU.

Written by food policy experts from three universities, it is published on the day David Davis, the Brexit secretary, heads to Brussels for a second round of formal talks with the EU on departure arrangements.

Would dearly love to be able to scan through 88 pages of their misrepresentations…..