UK’s “junk food” ad ban: The future of state-corporate cooperation

(by Kit Knightly | Off-Guardian) – There’s currently an interesting example of the interplay of state and corporate power going on in the UK.

It doesn’t seem like important news alongside Ukraine and Monkeypox and school shootings, but for a while now the UK government has planned to implement new rules banning grocery stores from advertising multi-buy offers on foods they deem “unhealthy”.

The UK government has a track record of brazenly controlling rules regarding food, including the recent “sugar levy”, a tax added to the cost of every soft drink which contains more than 5g of sugar per 100ml.

These new regulations would make it illegal to offer “buy one get one free” or “3-for-2” offers on any food in listed as “high in fat, salt or sugar” (HFSS) according to the government’s 2007 “nutritional profiling model”. It also bans “unlimited refill” offers on soft drinks at restaurants and the advertising of junk food on the internet and before 9pm on television.

The “consultation” on this goes back to at least 2019, and the ban was set to be in place by October of this year.

Now, my objection to this is fairly simple: It’s nobody’s business what a private citizen decides to buy, or how much they eat of what. The idea that the state could – or should – dictate what food people can eat “for the greater good” is an incredibly slippery slope.

Is a lot of processed junk food basically poison?


Do the oligarchs and bureaucrats therefore have the right to try and stop people from eating it?

Absolutely not.

They promote all these policies as being in the public interest, but they’re not. In fact, they are often directly harming the public both physically and financially.

Take the “Sugar Tax” I mentioned above. While allegedly “forcing” soft drinks manufacturers to reformulate in the name of “tackling childhood obesity”, what it actually did was mandate companies to either increase their prices or replace sugar with cheaper (and more toxic) artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.

Essentially, you’re now paying more for the same product, and maybe getting a nice cancer-inducing boost of chemical sweeteners in the bargain.

This will have no impact at all on obesity (except it might make it worse), but it WILL increase both corporate and government revenues behind a veneer of “acting in the public interest”.

This latest move in the “war on obesity” is just more of the same. A pretence at caring for ordinary people covering a government-mandated price increase. Read Full Article >

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