DON’T let them eat cake: Food regulator boss wants you to stop bringing treats to the office
Think you want to bring a slice of happiness into your office?
Well, think again, because a Food Standards Agency boss has warned against it – likening the health risks of doing so to passive smoking in, that you could be harming your co-workers by doing so.
Professor Susan Ann Jebb OBE, who’s Chair of the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency and Professor of Diet and Population Health at the University of Oxford, told The Times that people’s ‘extraordinary efforts’ towards self-control can’t be relied on to keep them healthy all the time.
Sorry to anybody with a birthday coming up – looks like you’ll have to make do with just a card, lest you tempt your colleagues into an early grave.
Professor Susan said: ‘We all like to think we’re rational, intelligent, educated people who make informed choices the whole time and we undervalue the impact of the environment.
‘If nobody brought in cakes into the office, I would not eat cakes in the day, but because people do bring cakes in, I eat them. Now, OK, I have made a choice, but people were making a choice to go into a smoky pub.’
While she doesn’t think the two issues are exactly the same, Professor Susan did draw parallels between smoking in public and plying colleagues with baked goods.
‘With smoking,’ she said, ‘after a very long time, we have got to a place where we understand that individuals have to make some effort but that we can make their efforts more successful by having a supportive environment.
‘But we still don’t feel like that about food.’
Professor Susan also shared her frustration with the delay on the planned television watershed for junk food advertising, saying it’s ‘undermining people’s free will’, and that implementing these measures is ‘not about the nanny state’.
She said: ‘Advertising means that the businesses with the most money have the biggest influence on people’s behaviour. That’s not fair.
‘At the moment we allow advertising for commercial gain with no health controls on it whatsoever, and we’ve ended up with a complete market failure because what you get advertised is chocolate and not cauliflower.’
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