Nanny State

Food Police Cease to be a Metaphor

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any leftovers?

Some people holler about the "food police" when it comes to issues like foie gras bans, menu labeling, and trans fat bans, which I've always consider slightly overblown rhetoric. But now the U.K. has outdone itself with a new door-to-door anti-waste campaign:

'By hitting people at home, rather than in supermarkets, we can get inside their lives', [an official from the Department of Health] said.

'It's only by knocking on doors you can find out what they are having for their tea…'

That's right. A team of people—"food champions"—are going house to house making suggestions about ways to use leftovers and sniffing people's milk to tell them if it's still good. "Officials have been recruited on full-time contracts to visit an estimated 24,500 homes dispensing dietary advice and tips on how best to reduce the estimated one-third of all food bought which is thrown away."

For some reason, this is the worst bit to me: They're planning to come by while people are preparing dinner

UPDATE: Jacob Sullum blogged the Telegraph's article on this program earlier.

NEXT: My Government Is Spending $825 Billion on a Stimulus Package and I Got Less Than the National Mall Revitalization Program?

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  1. “Officials have been recruited on full-time contracts to visit an estimated 24,500 homes

    Oh thank god! I first read this as “Officials have recruited full time convicts to visit..”

    Time to go back to the optometrist

  2. Full time contracts? Fuck! Good to know the UK doesn’t have any real problems anymore.

  3. My question … what if you refuse to let them in?

  4. There is one valid libertarian argument for food police. Here’s a point from the blog post:

    Hopefully, this photograph will help illustrate the fact that the only thing a stimulus package will ever stimulate is an ever-increasing appetite for even more stimulus packages.

    Don’t click on the link if you have a weak stomach.

  5. Time to throw off the Norman Yoke. (Especially when they start telling you when your Norman Yolks have gone bad.)

  6. That baby looks spoiled. It’s tough to find fresh ones out of season anyway. This time of year, you normally have to settle for frozen.

  7. Does anyone know if you can turn them away?

    If they’re just the new Jehovas Witness, it sucks that the government is wasting money, but that’s nothing really new. If the Brits are forced to let them in… well, that’s a completely different story.

  8. 1984 was a *warning*, guys, not an operating manual.

    Someone, y’know, ought to tell them. Between the DNA database, the proposed “cellphone user” database, and having more cameras than God…

  9. ” This time of year, you normally have to settle for frozen.”

    I always get fresh. Air-freighted from Africa. A little pricey, but worth every penny.

  10. Solana,

    It’s easy to turn away a Jehovas Witness. Just answer the door in a robe parted down the middle with nothing on beneath. They NEVER come back.

  11. cf. Jacob Sullum’s H&R entry of last Thursday.

  12. Whoa! I just now noticed the baby in the fridge. My powers of tunnel vision are Teh AWESome sometimes.

  13. Shrug. It’s just a matter of having the right people in charge.

  14. ‘By hitting people at home …, we can get inside their lives’

    OMG. I can’t believe somebody in the land of John Stuart Mill said that.

  15. Not to put too fine a point on it, but fuck the UK

  16. Given Anthony Bourdain’s recent
    comments about Alice Waters, his head would explode if he saw this.

  17. “That baby looks spoiled.”

    That’s because his parents don’t beat him enough.

  18. LibertarianFoodPolice –
    I bet that girl thinks all guys always be lookin at her boobs

  19. Whatever you do, don’t sign the organ donor card.

  20. “Not to put too fine a point on it…”

    Say I’m the only bee in your bonnet

  21. By hitting people at home …, we can get inside their lives

    If they hit me at home, can I hit them back? With an axe handle?

  22. The food police, they look inside of my bread.
    The food police, they come to me in my bed.
    The food police, they’re coming to arrest me.

  23. Say I’m the only bee in your bonnet

    Unlike the Istanbul thread, this one doesnt have much chance of veering down a Four Lads path.

  24. I’m on to you R C Dean. I’ve seen that movie.

  25. Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
    Who watches over you
    Make a little birdhouse in your soul
    Not to put too fine a point on it
    Say Im the only bee in your bonnet
    Make a little birdhouse in your soul

  26. Reinmoose: I bet that girl thinks all guys always be lookin at her boobs

    I selected that particular picture because I noted that her naval could probably be used as a sexual orifice.

  27. Now it is 1984
    Knock-knock at your front door
    It’s the Kool-Aid/fried ham secret police
    They have come for your overweight niece

  28. One could suggest the following to food police showing without a warrant: Eat lead.

  29. There’s a picture opposite me
    of my primitive ancestry
    who stood on rocky shores and kept the beaches shipwreck free
    Though I respect that a lot
    I’d be fired if that were my job
    After killing jason off and countless screaming argonauts

  30. 1984 was a *warning*, guys, not an operating manual.

    When I read that book in high school, the idea of a mandatory excercise hour seemed surreal and crazy.

    It really, really seems like a program like that could happen, and I’ll bet there have already been some nannies in the U.K. considering it.

  31. Nineteen Eighty-Four? I was thinking Demolition Man was their operating guide.

  32. You’d look nice in some drawstring pants

    Anyway, it’s not like the UK can focus on creeping food fascism. Not when Prince Harry’s girlfriend broke up with him. [gasp]

  33. Okay. The UK is insane

  34. The sword ban in Scotland was the key moment in the UK’s decline. Banning swords? In Scotland? What’s next, a haggis and Scotch ban? I mean, what’s the point in even having a Scotland now?

  35. Zen fascists will control you
    100% natural
    You will jog for the master race
    And always wear the happy face

    (Is this now officially a TMBG vs. DKs thread?)

  36. Every chocolate cake
    Every ice cream shake
    Every rib eye steak, every darn corn flake
    They’ll be watching you.

  37. First they came for the foie gras, but I was not foie gras, so I didn’t speak up.

    Then they came for the trans fats, but I was not trans fat, so I didn’t speak up.

    Then they came for the corn syrup, but I was not corn syrup, so I didn’t speak up.

    Then they came for the aspartame, but I was not aspartame, so I didn’t speak up.

    Then they came for the broccoli, and I said HELL YEAH!

  38. I thought the UK’s anti-knife campaign (the one they started after they banned all guns) was the funniest damn thing ever. I mean, knife control?

    But this tops it.

  39. Here is one UK anti-knife poster. I swear in this country that could be in The Onion.

    And another one.

    I’m waiting for the law that says you need a seven day background check to buy a butcher’s knife.

  40. But in Soviet Russia, the food police you…

  41. Oh you gonna stop by my home tonight (please)
    To prove your culinary Nazi might
    Oh you gonna bust me for my fries
    Fat bottomed girls you make the nanny state go round
    Fat bottomed girls you make the nanny state go round
    Get in your SWAT vans and ride

  42. Hell, the Soviet Union at least never tried to ban fatty foods, alcohol, or cigarettes!

  43. I like the voice of reason here!

    Fran Oborski, a Liberal councillor on Wyre Forest Council, Worcestershire, said she was ‘concerned’ by the move.

    She said: ‘I’m all in favour of banning food waste but if the Government wanted to seriously tackle this problem they should ban buy-one-get-one-free offers – because they are what encourage people to buy food they do not need.’

    pld.

  44. “Here is one UK anti-knife poster. I swear in this country that could be in The Onion.”

    I myself am waiting for the British to ban butter knives. If you rub the rough edge on your skin a lot, it can hurt!

  45. My question … what if you refuse to let them in?

    That would be unmutual.

  46. I have never been more glad my ancestors got out of that hellhole.

    There is a God, and She hates the British.

  47. But in Soviet Russia, the food police you…

    On a semi-related note…

    “‘Soviet’ Britain swells amid the recession”

    (link via FP’s “Passport”)

  48. Did any one watch this past week’s Prime Minister’s Questions? I saw the repeat last night. Generally, C-Span airs it live on Wednesdays at 7 AM Eastern and the repeat at 9 PM Eastern on Sundays.

    FWIW, Gordon Brown can not hold David Cameron’s jock in debate or public speaking.

  49. Don’t click on the link if you have a weak stomach.

    The horror….the horror….

  50. During the airing of Prime Minister’s Questions last night, two Labour MPs openly and unequivocally called for the nationalization of the banks. They blamed the entire banking crisis on the “Tory fat cats”. Interesting, given that the Conservative party has been out of power since May of 1997.

  51. My story’s infinite,
    Like the Longines Symphonette,
    It doesn’t rest.

    Going to see them Saturday night actually.

  52. “They blamed the entire banking crisis on the ‘Tory fat cats’. Interesting, given that the Conservative party has been out of power since May of 1997.”

    Hey, that sounds a lot like libertarians. I wish I had all the power the left ascribed to me, because then I could smite anyone who pissed me off.

  53. “Did any one watch this past week’s Prime Minister’s Questions? ”

    No.

  54. http://www.nomoreknives.com/moreInfo.htm

    A few years after knives are illegal, there will be a http://www.nomorefists.com:

    -Fatal [beatings] now outnumber [knife] deaths in the UK by three to one. Latest figures show that the [fist] has become the most commonly used murder weapon.

    -A child in Britain dies every two weeks in a [fist] attack.

    – [Fist] attacks have soared since [2009], nearly doubling in some areas.

    -The number of people convicted of carrying a [fist] in public rose from [arbitrary number] in [2009] to [larger arbitrary number] in [2012]. Of these 452 in [2009] and 755 in [2012] were aged between 15 and 17.

    -The British Association for Accident and Emergency Medicine Reports indicate a rise in [knuckle-related] wounds, particularly among men aged between 14 and 25.

    -A survey by the Bridgehouse Trust found that a quarter of children aged 12 to 16 admitted to carrying a [fist]. Of the crimes committed by young people, carrying a [fist] was the most common offence among children excluded from school, according to the Youth Justice Board.

    -In [2012] almost half of shops tested had broken the law by [allowing fists to be carried by] children under 16, says the Trading Standards Institute.

    -Nationally, six per cent of all violent crimes are [fist]-related. Out of 820 homicides in [2010/11], 236 involved [brutal beatings].

  55. Economist-

    I would rather have Vinnie’s cousin’s lawyer (not Joe Peschi, but the stuttering barrister that Ralph Macchio’s cousin hired after Joe Peschi had been found in contempt by Fred Gwynne) than Gordon Brown argue in my behalf. He is that bad on his feet.

  56. Tyler–

    Next step after banning guns and knives is they just ban weapons completely, even for police officers and the military. Then the UK be yet another step closer to fulfilling the Demolition Man movie prophecy.

    They don’t have Taco Bells in Britain, though. What will all their fast food places turn into?

  57. The Mormons and JWs are starting to sound good

  58. The difference is, the Jehovah Witnesses aren’t shaking you down for taxes so they can interrupt you at dinner time. Despise them all you want, but they don’t have a tenth the hubris that government food police will.

  59. Despise them all you want, but they don’t have a tenth the hubris that government food police will.

    I don’t really even despise them. I’ve had at least two engaging conversations with Jehovas Witness(es?), and one exhilarating attempt at hiding from them behind my curtains when I was home alone one time circa 1998 (I was 13).

  60. Brandybuck, if the Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses could make re-introducing alcohol prohibition politically viable, you can bet your ass they would fund efforts for it.

  61. And the Mormons would ban caffeine, tobacco, and tea for good measure!

  62. The best way to get rid of Jehovah’s Witnesses is to give them a blood transfusion.

  63. The Mormons and JWs are starting to sound good

    Agreed, especially with a side of dirty rice…

  64. And the Mormons would ban caffeine, tobacco, and tea for good measure!

    As long as they don’t try and ban undergarments with weirdly-placed holes in them, I don’t care; and on that count, at least, I think I’d be all set under a Mormon theocracy.

  65. They don’t have Taco Bells in Britain, though.

    Actually, TB may be re-entering the UK. (Besides, you could always join the effort to “Bring Taco Bell Back to the UK!”)

    If not, there’s possibly Taco John’s or La Salsa.

  66. You been to chef school
    For a year or two
    And you know you’ve cooked it all
    In the maitre’d’s car
    Thinkin’ you’ll go far
    En cuisine your type don’t crawl

    Play ethnicky rock
    To parade your coq
    On your five grand Viking stove
    Braggin’ that you know
    That the gazpacho’s plenty cold
    And’ll go great with filet of sole

  67. That the gazpacho’s plenty cold
    And’ll go great with filet of sole

    OK, that was funny.

  68. Yeah, given the power, most JWs and Mormans would want to use it. But exactly how does that make them different from anyone else? Libertarians are the only group I know who wouldn’t use political power to impose their beliefs on others, and I’m not too sure about them.

  69. Libertarians are the only group I know who wouldn’t use political power to impose their beliefs on others, and I’m not too sure about them.

    Not true, Brandybuck. We would most definitely use our power to impose our belief that the government should be small and easily ignored on everybody.

  70. That baby looks spoiled

    Baby? I just assumed it was a hungry dwarf. Which is creepy enough.

  71. Shouldn’t a “food champion” be someone who protects food against being eaten? Like, say, The Champion, just for food.

  72. You laugh, RC, but it’s true. Imagine how many govt employees, union bosses, money people, and others who benefit from the status quo would be squealing like stuck sows if we ever took over.

    Freedom is a two-sided coin indeed.

  73. I thought the food champions were the guys who set world records for “Most Buffalo wings eaten in 30 seconds” and such.

  74. Now I’m imagining one of these functionaries saying, “Let’s see if your food is any good…mmph, mmph, mmph…do you have any Grey Poupon to go with this?” [Puts jar in jacket.] “I’d better take yours then, because the next place I sample from might have an inferior mustard.”

  75. Not only shall you not hunt the Queen’s deer, you shant have it in your fridge either!

  76. “That baby looks spoiled”

    “Baby? I just assumed it was a hungry dwarf. Which is creepy enough.”

    You guys owe me a drink.

  77. Q: What’s the difference between a dead baby and a pork roast?

    A: I don’t have a pork roast in my refrigerator.

  78. Hey, maybe you don’t need food inspectors in Libertopia, but back here in reality people need to be told how to eat.

    And if you think a few spoofers will get rid of me, you don’t know Threadwinner Joe.

  79. I smell stinky cheese.

  80. “First they came for the foie gras, but I was not foie gras, so I didn’t speak up.”

    No guts, ha?

  81. IM IN UR FRIDGE BANNING UR FOODZ.

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