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Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Business enterprises are often attacked for selling people ‘junk food’ and not telling them about the health benefits of vegetables.

Well recently ASDA (the British arm of Walmart) labelled its vegetables, explaining that people who eat certain types of vegetable have a lower chance of developing certain forms of cancer.

ASDA was promptly prosecuted and punished. It seems that ‘making health claims’ is not legal in Britain.

Oh well, back to selling junk. The state is not your friend.

8 comments to Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

  • From the Guardian article:

    the sign was put out in error, having been written by a qualified company nutritionist but not approved by the company’s trading standards team

    So this is also an example of there being so many laws that it is impossible for any less than a “trading standards team” to understand them all. If the mighty Walmart still gets it wrong, how is a small business supposed to cope?

  • J

    The article doesn’t provide much detail, but the problem with health statements is that they extremely hard to verify. Hell, it’s hard to verify that many medicines are actually good for you, let alone a vegetable. Of course one part of me thinks that the supermarket should be allowed to make whatever dubious claims it likes, and buyers should learn not to trust medical claims from supermarkets. But, since I hate supermarkets even more than I hate sheeple, I’m all in favour of anything that makes it harder for them to do business 🙂


  • winter

    Being pursued for that kind of matter makes quite a good advertising, doesn’t it ?

    Being cited in newspapers as a victim of the law for informing (or protecting ?) consumers…
    And these people are good people : for them, it is a
    “a genuine mistake made in good faith” and the company was “morally blameless”…

    Aren’t they great ? I don’t know for you, but I want to go buy something in a supermarket which “feels” “morally” “blameless” for a tiny offence…

    Overall, the price for this add is 5 000 L, which may be quite low in comparison with the price of a real advertisement.

    Whether they did it on purpose or not, that’s the question….

  • Andrew Robb

    I can’t deny them the right to do buisness but I really dislike wal-mart. Don’t shop at the one near me unless I can help it. So anything that gives them trouble makes me smile a little.

    On the other hand that is a really worthless law.

  • Snorre

    The regulations state that any labelling claiming that a food prevents, treats or cures a disease is prohibited.

    Of course, of course. Otherwise you’d just have heaps of quacks running around, exploiting the good people!
    Now what you need is a good, solid state education programme telling you mangoes are good for you.
    Because you can trust the state. It is your friend.

  • toolkien

    Of course no one can make claims about worthiness, that’s left up to the State. The Federal Government can come out with its food pyramids and decide what chemicals can be marketed, but anyone else chimes in and it’s a crime. Keep the people stupid with socialist education, and keep them in diapers the rest of their lives. What a world.

  • Now not only harmful but helpful advertising is illegal. Orwell is laughing.

  • Paul Marks

    The old idea of making government regs voluntary springs to mind.

    If such regulations really were “for the good of the people” the masses would learn to go to stores that displayed banners saying “we follow all government regulations”.

    Surely it could not be that the business enterprises that displayed baners saying “we do not follow government regulations” would sell better quaility goods at lower cost.