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    First they came for the smokers, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a smoker.

    Then they came for the drinkers, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a drinker.

    Then they came for the eaters, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t an eater.

    Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

  2. 2

    Stevo the Working Twistie

    For years I’ve been proposing NannaLine – a government run service where any time you feel like eating, drinking, riding your bike, climbing a tree or whatever, you call a 1800 number and ask Nanna for permission – which naturally will be declined, thus saving squillions. You know it makes sense.

  3. 3

    The Old Bill

    I think it is a great idea. The best and fattiest junk food comes in plain packaging anyway. Our local takeaway still even wraps their fish and chips in newspaper! (And they don’t offer a grilled fish option. )

  4. 4

    Nicholas Melas

    My spidey sense indicates to me that the majority of arguments against this kind of regulation will contend that this proposal promotes a welfare-state view of public health. The underlying principle behind the movement to “plain-package” products which have health risks is that individuals make irrational decisions regarding their welfare, and thus normal market forces cannot be trusted to filter out unsafe or unhealthy products.

    This form of regulation is a step backwards in terms of regulatory sophistication. In other areas where consumers are vulnerable, we no longer tell consumers what to look at, or tell them what to pay attention to; instead, we put the onus on service and product providers to act in the interests of the consumer. Why can’t we do the same thing for the food industry?

    “Self-regulation” is seen as a euphemism for “no regulation” by many, but I am less sceptical considering the wonders it has done for mine safety, nursing homes, corporate governance, etc. If government were to offer a means to create profitable means of producing healthy food amongst the food industry, and then back up a failure to reach a satisfactory conclusion with sanctions and enforcement which reach straight up to senior and executive management, this would reflect a modern and effective approach to regulation.

    It’s certainly more palatable than telling people that they are too irrational and/or poor to look after themselves.


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