British Health Secretary to Jamie Oliver: Shut Yer Pie Hole

The British Health Secretary politely asked anti-obesity school lunch crusader and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to please shut his yap, as he turns out to be making things worse. Quoth Secretary Andrew Lansley at a British Medical Association meeting yesterday:

"If we are constantly lecturing people and trying to tell them what to do, we will actually find that we undermine and are counterproductive in the results that we achieve."...

"Jamie Oliver, quite rightly, was talking about trying to improve the diet of children in schools and improving school meals, but the net effect was the number of children eating school meals in many of these places didn't go up, it went down."

In a study of 27 U.K. schools offering healthy lunches, in-school lunch purchases dropped noticeably, up to 25 percent in at least one case. To his credit, Lansley also rejected suggestions that the way to force kids to eat Oliver's healthy lunches was monitor the contents of packed lunches and prohibit local shops near schools:

'Actually, where do we end up with this?', he said.

Good point.

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  • Fluffy||

    Gosh, what a shock. So you're saying that when you change school lunches from pizza and hot dogs to old man ass cheese and bran on toast, the kids stop buying it and bring lunch from home? I find this very hard to believe. We should commission a study.

  • New World Dan||

    I thought the point, however poorly implemented, was to make healthy food that didn't taste like crap. As an example, I like to mention a failed resturaunt near my house. They made healthy food, and printed nutritional information on the reciepts, which I thought was pretty excellent. They failed spectacularly because the food tasted like crap. Good idea, bad implementation.

    As it is, my own kid is always hungry when she gets home from school. The school lunches are so exceptionally untasty that she eats very little of it. So she's a thin little thing even though she'll eat a whole cheese pizza by herself if you let her. My dog doesn't like dry crunchy kibble, and will only eat it if he's starving. As such, he's also quite lean an healthy. I think the moral here is, make food that tastes like crap and kids will be thin, if they have no other options.

  • ||

    School cafeterias would screw up Kobe beef. Step one to a healthy and tasty meal plan would be to hire some cooks that don't think Hamburger Helper is haute cuisine.

  • ||

    So you're saying that when you change school lunches from pizza and hot dogs to old man ass cheese and bran on toast, the kids stop buying it and bring lunch from home?

    Is more kids bringing food from home (and parents having more control over what their kids eat) a bad thing ?

    If I want my kid to eat healthy, I would provide a healthy lunch for them. I would rather not have unhealthy options at the school cafe that they could get on their own and would undermine my preferences.

    I would imagine school cafeterias are subsidized so bringing their own lunch is a good thing from that perspective too.

  • Cyto||

    ^^this

  • Rabbit Scribe||

    'Actually, where do we end up with this?'

    Actually, Airstrip One.

  • Bingo||

    The best way to get people to eat healthy and be active is through social pressure, not legal pressure.

  • Bingo||

    Basically I'm saying that they should just let kids be kids and pick on the little fatties and not worry about what gets served in the cafeteria.

  • ||

    How much will that cost?

    Shall we subsidize the bullying? We may have to.

  • T||

    Yeah, but these days the fatties are the majority or at least a substantial enough minority that they have some social clout. It's easy to pick on the fat kid when there's only the one. But when a third or more of your classroom is chunksters, the bullies can't keep up.

    Plus, the self-esteem pedagogy currently in vogue doesn't allow anyone to be picked on because the precious snowflake might be emotionally traumatized or some bullshit.

  • Rhywun||

    Feh. In all my schools the fatties WERE the bullies.

  • Coeus||

    The problem is incentive. It's a hell of a lot easier to go all Russel Crowe upside a bullies head than loose the weight (trust me on this, I've done both).

  • ||

    If we are constantly lecturing people and trying to tell them what to do, we will actually find that we undermine and are counterproductive in the results that we achieve.

    Did i wake up in bizzaro world today? Did a leading nanny of the #1-Nannystate-in-the-world just admit that nannying...DOESN'T WORK?

    What's next, Obama saying something that isn't a boldfaced lie? *fingers crossed*

  • Old Mexican||

    "If we are constantly lecturing people and trying to tell them what to do, we will actually find that we undermine and are counterproductive in the results that we achieve."...

    Can anybody say "Unintended Consequences"? Anyone?

  • ▲ ▲||

    UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.

    What do I win?

  • Almanian||

    PICK ME, PICK ME!

    UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES!!

  • ||

    They actually suggested monitoring the lunches kids brought from home? That is so horribly intrusive, even for the UK.

    I know my little proto-libertarian 3rd grade self would have gone mental if anyone had tried to take away my mum's homemade cookies from my lunch. They were so good, they functioned as currency.

  • -||

    Those cookies are now illegal in 37 states.

  • ||

    You can get them in California with a prescription.

  • Almanian||

    Truly frightening.

    Thank goodness the US got out from under these weasels 234 years ago, or we'd be heading down the same road they are.

    Wait a minute...

  • Eric S.||

    what with peanut-free zones and all, I already assumed this happened.

  • cbmclean||

    Peanut-free zones aren't necessarily as "nannying" as one might think. There are some children to which peanuts (and/or ground nuts) are literally deadly in extremely small doses.

  • Frankyb||

    Yes! 'cause you know, It's hard to keep track of what you are allergic to and take the responsability to avoid it. Better make everyone else avoid stuff they can enjoy and like and instead take that responsability for you!

  • cbmclean||

    I can imagine that it is EXTREMLEY difficult to avoid peanuts. Not so much because its in so may foods, which it is, but because every time a person eats something with peanuts he or she is liable to spread a peanut residue everywhere. I have no food allergies whatsoever, (at least so far as I know), and I love peanuts, but I am terrified of hurting someone by leaving residue behind me.

  • ||

    So does anybody here actually have a better solution to the problem?

    Or are we sticking to the libertarian script: trivialize/deny the problem, demonize those trying to improve it, and then later bitch and moan when the problem requires more of your tax dollars down the road?

  • ||

    Other people getting fat is not my problem. That's the crux of the issue.

    So, STFU.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    I love the assumption that the "problem" is one that you must stick your big fat nose into and solve with massive amounts of state operated force.

    Anyway - If you really think other people's obesity is your concern (which it isn't), then I think Bingo had a better real solution above anyway.

  • Almanian||

    What "problem"? I have three kids - we determined what they ate when they were in school. Not the school or gummint.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The only problem here Dan T., is that you haven't died a agonizingly painful and undiginfied death from your brain tumor yet.

  • ||

    Less is more.

    I suppose it will be rough waters trying to convince the Democrats to get out of the school lunch business. ADM and Cargill probably won't go for it without some sort of financial incentives for them.

    How about parents buy the lunches with vouchers, prepare the lunches themselves, and send their children on their happy way. If the program still ends up with a bunch of fat kids we'll try something else.

    It's that or keep the school lunches and fire all the athletic coaches because schools can't find money for athletics, but they have plenty to hand out in contractual labor raises.

  • ||

    Less is more.

    I suppose it will be rough waters trying to convince the Democrats to get out of the school lunch business. ADM and Cargill probably won't go for it without some sort of financial incentives for them.

    How about parents buy the lunches with vouchers, prepare the lunches themselves, and send their children on their happy way. If the program still ends up with a bunch of fat kids we'll try something else.

    It's that or keep the school lunches and fire all the athletic coaches because schools can't find money for athletics, but they have plenty to hand out in contractual labor raises.

  • King Rat||

    It IS a problem that portions keep getting bigger and bigger and there are many more obese people and children in the US these days. It's sad to have kids (don't know what % but more than 50 years ago) already with coronary artery disease at age 10. Not sure why the government run schools that spend extremely large amounts of money per student no longer have gym (and less recess??) as they had when I was growing up.

    Don't know what the solution is except keep trying to educate people and hope that parents will do their job and that as kids get older they will start following better diets.

    I am quite pleased when parents band together (or even high school kids) and petition for healthier choices but I am a bit leery when self-proclaimed experts trying to sell books influence the government to dictate these changes. Apparently it has Unintended Consequences. Who could have predicted such a thing?? Oh, wait a minute.

    As a Ph.D. Biochemist I teach nutrition to pre-Meds and have followed nutrition since I was in high school over 30 years ago. And one of the problems with having it run from the top down is that you get political decisions and trendy ones as well. It used to be thought that eggs were bad for you and that margarine was better for you than butter. Unfortunately, many STILL are under this impression. The health of many Americans is still being hurt by government advice and policies from 50 years ago. The food pyramid we have today is still wrong as we have undo influence by the cheese and meat industries on the FDA and USDA and on congress.

    At any rate, there ARE examples in this country where the diets and choices at many schools have been changed for the better so we need to advertise these and parents need to get their kids some exercise if they don't have gym in school.

    I often think of non-libertarians as being people who can't mind their own business and then don't have the strength of their own convictions to go out and try to make a difference. Instead they take the easy way out and want to dictate to others what they should do since their judgment is obviously (to them) so much better than everyone else's.

  • ||

    I'd suggest the easiest and most direct way to make the fatties slim down would be a mandatory hour and a half gym classes where you made everyone do the P90X workouts. Then they could eat a Whopper meal every day and come out even.

  • ||

    I know a woman in her 60s that still peels all her apples because of that Alar scam.

  • ||

    I know a woman who became a Born Again because of Alar. I'm assuming the Alar scam was just the last straw.

  • ||

    1. The size of someone's ass is not my problem.

    2. I am not responsible for the consequences of others' bad choices.

    3. Isn't it curious that we had much less obesity before the government got involved with school lunches, food pyramids, USDA pushing starches and sugars, subsidizing corn syrup, etc.?

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    I vote for ending all public schools.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    Solution: quit subsidizing factory farming, especially of corn and soy. The costs of junk food and additivies increase, making them less attractive options. Healthier people, smaller government.

  • ||

    Parents.

  • Almanian||

    Ah, yes, I recall a back-and-forth with one of my Team Blue friends a while back when there was a TV show about similar efforts in the US but this pinhead.

    Team Smurfette: "Oh, but he's so passionate, and I love that he cares..."

    Shocker - didn't work. So I posted this to her FB along with a snarky note about "passion versus actual results."

    Not that it will matter, but I'll feel better for having ruined her day...

  • ||

    That's no way to ruin her day.

    Take her out on a Bolshevik date.

  • ||

    Ok , I'll bite ? a Bolshevik date?
    Is that where you both share the bill and then one of you gets fucked and then your stuff gets shared with the staff at the truckstop?

  • ||

    a Bolshevik date?

    By the end of the night, one of you is on display in a glass coffin.

  • ||

    You pick the venue. She pays. You keep your life. She's exiled to Latin America.

    Depending on how deep her leftism has sunk, she might thank you.

  • -||

    Kinky!

  • Cyto||

    Actually, I found that show to be a polemic against bureaucratic intransigence and top-down government controls. I guess it is my libertarian bias that allowed me to pick out the libertarian themes.

    One particularly memorable conflict had the government bureaucrat preventing his vegetable-pasta stir fry from being served because it didn't have the requisite vegetable content - while the plates with hamburgers and crinkle-cut fries went out with a federal government stamp of approval without any vegetables on the plate at all.

    He ran into similar problems with federally subsidized food - the schools could purchase really crappy frozen fried chicken nuggets at deeply discounted prices, but they couldn't get fresh (or fresh-frozen) chicken. This led the school to serve fried chicken nuggets rather than the scratch-made chicken teryaki he had designed.

    The combination of subsidies and meal guidelines from the county, city, state and federal government provided an effective means to completely control the local school lunch menu and to mandate a very crappy least-common-denominator meal for the students. Pretty much the opposite of what I would call freedom.

  • ||

    Actually under government guidelines potatoes are considered vegatables. So french fries are vegetables if you believe the government.

  • robc||

    Im trying to figure out in what world potatoes arent vegetables? Not very healthy ones, but still vegetables. Tomatoes, on the other hand, are only vegetables by fiat.

  • ||

    Potatoes are tubers, not vegetables.

  • ||

    Could not stand that self important preachy brit. Both of my kids made it through public school without becoming a fatty. It's not the schools, it's the parents and the home environment. What good is over priced health food at school when the little darlin chows down on hot-pockets, chips, and soda as soon as they get home.

  • ||

    Have you even seen hot pockets on fire off Orien?

  • ||

    Both of my kids made it through public school without becoming a fatty. It's not the schools, it's the parents and the home environment. What good is over priced health food at school when the little darlin chows down on hot-pockets, chips, and soda as soon as they get home.

    So true.

    Every day I am at the park with my son, I see other peoples kids running around eating cheetos and twizzlers and flavor-ice and drinking cans of sprite or coke.

    Maybe I am a fuddy-duddy, but my son (age 2) doesn't need twizzlers and cheetos and soda in their diet right now.

  • ||

    Having watched the brief run of Jamie Oliver's program, I don't feel like this video from Reason accurately represented the problems he was trying to address.

    First major point is that Oliver did not just address the issue with school lunches, but visited with parents and talked to them about nutrition as well. At no time did he suggest that the government should step in and regulate personal eating habits.

    Second is that Jamie was guilty, like most people, of inside-the-box thinking regarding the government's role in school lunches. In most cases, his conflicts with the school lunch program were with a bureaucrat holding a 1000 page binder detailing the regulations for school lunches (regulations which classified french fries with ketchup as a vegetable). However, for most people, because the government is the cause of the problem, they see reform at the government level as the solution. As this video correctly points out, a major source of the low quality of food is, in fact the government program.

    As for Reason's own Katherine Mangu-Ward, serving them kale for lunch is never suggested or tried ("Ass cheese with bran on toast" also fails to make it to the menu). Nor can the disgusting frozen slabs that "Healthy Choice" attempts to pass off as food be construed as "healthy" in any way. That's just misrepresentation and flat out factual error, respectively.

    What I don't understand is for a magazine/organization called "Reason", the reasoning skills on display here are abysmal. Dan T is correct, how many of you are just sticking to the libertarian script? How much rote crap/insults can be spewed at anyone suggesting that there are cultural issues that could and should be addressed; instead of knee-jerking by demonstrating how many McDonalds fatburgers we can stuff into our gaping, drooling maws, let's actually dialog with activists along the lines of "you've definitely identified a major problem here, but we really need to rethink your solution."

  • robc||

    What I don't understand is for a magazine/organization called "Reason"

    DRINK!

    Then he references a troll.

    How much rote crap/insults can be spewed at anyone suggesting that there are cultural issues that could and should be addressed

    None (unless you are an idiot). Fix it culturally all you want, thats what we fucking support.

  • ||

    Didn't realize that anyone who says anything you didn't want to hear counted as a "troll."

    Anyway, if you support cultural pressure, then "fucking support" it. Instead anytime someone brings up an issue, It's an instant mouth frothing reaction about how people want to shut down McDonald's. The report is bookended with references to a food establishment that plays no part in the the show it claims to be critiquing. That's dishonest at worst, and I've come to expect better of Reason.

  • robc||

    The easy fix to school lunch problems: separation of school and state.

    Done. Now it is a parental problem entirely. Problem solved.

    Once again, 99.44% of all school related issues can be fixed with the same simple solution.

  • ||

    I agree, but we both know that's simply not going to happen reasonably soon. Instead pushing back so hard on perceived food policing, we could look at what was presented to us as a glaring example of the stupidity of having a federal bureaucracy in charge of school meals. If presented this way, it might actually serve to at LEAST get parents involved in dealing those issues at a local level where there is more control and accountability, or the BEST case scenario, they just start packing the kids lunches themselves.

    But this is what I was referring to initially, we can give a rote, obviously unrealistic answer like "separation of school and state" or at least fight the battles that can be won now.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    But it isn't "rote" or "unrealistic". Homeschool. Feed your kids healthy food. I do it. Bam! Problem solved.

    He is trying to put lipstick on a pig. We are pointing out that it's an ugly fuckin pig, and we are the unreasonable jerks? You'd be happier if we helped suggest shades of eye shadow?

  • ||

    I understand that it is simple, and that it would work if people just took that route. Not an issue, you don't have to convince me. But in order to enact change for the positive—removing government from education—you actually have to convince most other people. One-liners and libertarian slogans stand as much chance of changing the minds of most people as "Jesus Saves" bumper sticker does of convincing a dyed-in-the-wool atheist to convert. Where we a something that makes perfect sense given the context of education in general libertarian theory, they only see nonsense.

    To use your analogy: he may in fact be trying to put lipstick on a pig. You can say that all you want, but if the general public does not, in fact, believe it's a pig, then it doesn't matter.

    I'm suggesting that instead of ridicule, we could focus on using his experiences to point out the major problems with the government involvement in this particular area, which could have the benefit of both maybe getting the feds out of something so frivolous and returning that control to the local level (and ultimately the parents) and also the benefit of showing people the positive results of SMALLER GOVERNMENT, if not the ideal of privatization.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Ok man. If you can still talk rationally to all the fuckhead Tony/Chad/DanT types out there, you are a better (or younger) man than I.

    I don't have any patience left for people who think its OK to steal my money so they can pay for their kids time at the government training center, where their kids learn that stealing my money to pay for government training centers is, like, totally moral.

  • ||

    Certainly not better, but maybe younger (or older?). I understand completely the lack of patience, I've been there and I think I'm past that point—unfortunately I've found that unproductive.

    What I've found, in terms of trying to convince people of my positions on political issues, is that most people don't care about the deontilogical justification for discontinuing a law, or government service. They don't care about ethics, they care about perceived results (whereas someone like you or I might say "even if the results are better, the ends don't justify the means"). So, since the ethical approach doesn't work, I find that it's best to look at situations like this that aren't political hot-buttons, and try to point out the ABSURD RESULTS of federal bureaucracy, and get people thinking about the question "why is the government even involved here?" It's a small victory, but it's a start. My old standby of replying to every political discussion with a lecture on applied praxeology, hard currency, and taxes=theft wasn't working.

    Regarding the original article/video, I still feel that they didn't accurately address the whole "revolution" program Jamie Oliver is promoting. Thinking about it, my initial frustration with the video and some of the comments was the INSTANT push back against bland health food and food policing, which aren't the issue here at all; it's no different to me than any other form of partisanship. Really, the guy is a massively successful chef, are we really to believe that he doesn't know how to produce a tasty meal?

  • Rhywun||

    So does anybody here actually have a better solution to the problem?

    Take the money spent on school lunches and give it to low-income parents instead. Let them choose what to spend it on.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Or take the money spent on school lunches and give it back to the people it was stolen from.

  • ||

    Yeah!

  • Max||

    The libertarian argument doesn't get much thinner or stupider than this. Ratfuckers.

  • ||

    To the coal mines with the little porkers.
    I have spoken.

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