Sunday, September 11, 2011

Australian Cancer Council wants to kill Paddle Pop lion and Coco Pops monkey

Even though the best evidence is that there is NO harm in sugar, fat and salt

THE Coco Pops monkey and Paddle Pop lion would be scrapped under a Cancer Council proposal to ban cartoon characters and sports stars from spruiking unhealthy kids' food.

Cancer Council NSW, backed by the Obesity Policy Coalition and The Parents' Jury, are seeking a ban on promotional characters, movie tie-ins and the athletes who promote foods high in sugar, fat and salt.

Although stopping short of calling for plain packaging, Cancer Council nutritionist Kathy Chapman said regulations around the marketing of foods to children were urgently needed.

"What we'd like to see is the removal of these promotional characters - whether they're cartoon characters, sporting celebrities or movie tie-ins - from all foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt," she told The Sunday Telegraph.

Research by Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney's Prevention Research Collaboration found that nearly 74 per cent of promotional characters on Australian food packets promote products to children that would fail healthy nutritional standards.

Among the foods targeted are Bubble O'Bill ice-creams, which have 25 per cent of a child's recommended daily saturated fat intake in one 65g serve, and Kellogg's Froot Loops, which have almost three teaspoons of sugar per 30g serve. Coco Pops are more than one-third sugar and contain nearly a third of a child's daily sodium intake in one 30g serve.

It is estimated that one in four children are overweight or obese. Obesity Policy Coalition senior policy adviser Jane Martin backed the Cancer Council's call.

"We'd like to see these powerful kinds of endorsements by licensed characters, company-owned cartoons and celebrities not allowed on unhealthy foods," she said.

"Children in particular are vulnerable to this thing. They are familiar with the character so it's not surprising when you are using Sponge Bob Square Pants and Bart Simpson to advertise food that children relate to these characters."

Ms Martin said packaging was a key part of a promotional arsenal. While her organisation welcomed cricketers fronting Weet-Bix, which were high in fibre and low in salt, she said Ky Hurst spruiking the high-sugar cereal Nutri-Grain misleadingly gave it "a healthy halo".

Parents' Jury campaign manager Corrina Langelaan said plain packaging would be the first step in attacking pester power.


Another infliction on ordinary people by the food Fascists and their absurd theories

HP Sauce's recipe secretly changed after 116 years by American owners of the Great British Condiment

For more than a century HP Sauce has been a staple of many a British dining table.

But after 116 years of being produced to a carefully guarded recipe, the brown sauce which famously bears a picture of the Houses of Parliament on the label has been secretly altered at the request of Government health chiefs.

Heinz, the American company which bought the famous British brand in 2005, has changed the celebrated concoction that includes tomatoes, malt vinegar, molasses, dates, tamarind and secret spices to reduce the salt content.

The new recipe of Britain's best-loved brown sauce, synonymous with bacon sandwiches, fry-ups and sausage and mash, now contains 38 per cent less salt. But critics argue the change in salt levels for such small amounts of food makes no difference to our diet.

The previous version of HP Sauce contained 2.1g of salt per 100g. The new version contains 1.3g – but fans claim the change has come at a high price. They say it just doesn't taste the same.

The US company has altered the recipe despite launching a Reduced Salt And Sugar version at the same time. The new HP sauce recipe got the thumbs down from Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White.

He said he sent back a meal of sausages and mash at Mail on Sunday columnist Piers Morgan's Kensington pub The Hansom Cab last week. 'I sent the meal back, because I thought it was off,' he said. 'At first, I thought it was the sausages, but it wasn't. It was the HP, which tasted disgusting. It was definitely dodgy. I had no idea they had changed the recipe.

'I was brought up on HP Sauce in Yorkshire. My old man used to say ketchup was for Southerners and HP was for Northerners. My father would turn in his grave if he discovered they changed the recipe.'

Heinz made the changes after signing up to the Coalition Government's Responsibility Deal, a programme of targets for reducing the level of fats and salts used by food manufacturers. The key pledges include an agreement to reducing salt in food so people eat 1g less per day by end of 2012.

Health experts claim this measure will save the NHS £46 million a year within three years and prevent more than 4,000 premature deaths a year.

But as a result of the decrease in salt in the old sauce, the new line has more calories and carbohydrates. The new version also has less fibre, an essential part of a balanced daily diet. It has been reduced from 1.2g per 100g to 0.4g per 100g.

John Northey, from the Isle of Man, contacted Heinz to complain. In a letter to a newspaper, he wrote: 'Gone was the familiar tang and the sauce seemed bland and sickly. Heinz has spoiled a product enjoyed by generations, adversely affected its keeping qualities and, incidentally, increased the calorie count at a time when we're all being warned about obesity.'

The HP brand has not been without controversy in recent years. There was uproar in 2007 when production of this symbol of 'Britishness' was moved from Birmingham to Elst in the Netherlands, with the loss of 125 jobs.

A year later the company was again forced to defend the move after it was revealed that 18 months after axing HP Sauce in Birmingham on the grounds that production costs would be cheaper in Holland, it had also begun making it in Spain.

The sauce's appeal has crossed Britain's class divide, with generous dollops enjoyed at thousands of 'greasy spoon' cafes and by Prime Ministers. In the Sixties, it became known as 'Wilson's Gravy' after the wife of Prime Minister Harold Wilson let slip that his one fault was that 'he will drown everything in HP'.


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