Now they are coming for your burger

Stuff ?reports: quote.

The Government’s looking to ask “Big Food”?companies to stop sponsoring sport.

It’s a move to tackle soaring obesity rates, alongside calorie counts on restaurant menus.

The proposals were contained in a “wish list”?released to?Stuff?under the Official Information Act. end quote.

Fast food is in the government’s sights now. quote:

Fast food giants Burger King,?McDonald’s, and KFC?sponsor?rugby,?basketball, football, and cricket. Sanitarium runs the?Weetbix?Tryathlon, and?Nestl??is a sponsor of junior rugby through its Milo drink. Netball is sponsored by mall chain Muffin Break. end quote.

Why don’t they do us all a favour and just ban advertising? That would solve it. Then we could reduce the number of pesky ads at the same time. quote:

Since March, the Government has?partnered with 16 food industry retailers and manufacturers to establish a task force on?the weight problem.

It suggests there is “potential for Government to discourage sponsorship of sporting teams or events by brands associated with less healthy products.” This was to be done either in agreement with national sporting organisations, or voluntarily by the food and drink industry. end quote.

The trouble with this is, once again, it all goes too far. Kids who play a sport can probably eat fast food without a problem. And remember, Sanitarium sponsors kids triathlons… but then, a lot of their breakfast foods contain a lot of sugar. It is a minefield, but if Weetbix is one of the products being targeted, then we have gone way beyond being reasonable here. quote:

Former All Black and rugby league player Marc Ellis said commercial sponsorship of professional, adult sport was a must, “and we can’t afford to be particularly choosy”.

Where he did have a concern was with big brands effectively poisoning kids with sugar through school and junior sports sponsorship.

He could not see any harm in products like Weetbix, “although how-many-can-you-eat” messages were testing the boundaries. end quote.

Yep. Weetbix is in their sights too. quote:

Fynn Hawes, 12, was able to train?at Stadium 2000 in Blenheim, thanks to McDonald’s sponsorship of Marlborough Football.

Like other parents, his mum Vicky Hawes was torn over whether sport should accept the money from fast food sponsors, or try to send a healthy-eating message to children. end quote.

Now here is a perfect example of how you can’t have it both ways. The child was able to train because of a McDonald’s sponsorship, so I assume he would not have been able to do so otherwise. But the mother was ‘torn over whether his?sport should accept the money from fast food sponsors’. I wouldn’t hesitate. Playing sport is so good from so many angles – health, being part of a team, building self-esteem…and as a parent, I would simply keep control over how many takeaways he ate.

There. Simple. No need to be ‘torn’ at all.

The reason I think this is particularly alarming is because not all of the foods sold by fast food outlets are ‘bad’. Think of all the tomatoes and lettuce in the burgers. Think about the wraps and salads at McDonald’s. Think about the burgers themselves for that matter. Burgers aren’t terribly unhealthy, particularly if they are decent burgers, and burgers tend to be the main part of a meal, rather than an unhealthy side dish. Once again, think about Weetbix. These are not unhealthy foods. They are just foods. Aren’t we allowed to eat food now?

If fast food sponsorship is stopped in sport, this could very well be worse from a health perspective than allowing sponsorship to continue. A lack of sponsorship of sport?will not stop fat kids from eating junk food. It will just deprive kids of low-income families of the opportunity to play sport at a higher level. There is no benefit to anyone in this.

Parents can control how much fast food their children eat. Fast food is not actually a bad thing, and let’s face it, takeaways are a godsend to parents running around after children playing a sport. But now the government has decided it wants to send a message about the food we are not allowed to eat.

If Weetbix is one of the foods being targeted, the message will be very confused indeed.

This is nothing to do with health. This is just another attack on big business. It is just another way for the government to take control over everything we do – what we eat, what we drink, how much plastic we use… it is all about control. Nothing else.

Credit: Luke