Word of Mouth: Baby steps towards better regulation

14th January 2010, Guardian Website

A rebuff for Heinz over an outrageous baby formula TV ad is bad news for food corps and their ever-more-sophisticated tweaks of parental guilt. But Heinz needs a proper spanking.

Heinz has received an embarrassing ticking-off from the Advertising Standards Authority for the nauseating TV advert for its baby milk, Nurture, above. The ASA said on Monday that the claim that the formula would support growth in the brain, body and immune system of a baby was “unsubstantiated” and “unacceptable”.

Campaigners for honest food are delighted. This is a boost in the next front in the long-running war over children’s food claims: promises that food supplements can aid mental development. (How long-running? In the 1890s John Harvey Kellogg said that his cornflakes would prevent masturbation in young men, while in 1903 Grape Nuts promised a cure for malaria and loose teeth.)

Read the rest of this post at the Guardian’s Word of Mouth blog.

Do we need a dairy godmother?

7th January 2010, The Times

As milk prices drop and British dairy farms go bust, the Tories want to create a supermarket ombudsman. Can consumers help?

Walk along the dairy shelf next time you are in a supermarket, and you can watch an accident happening. It is a serious one, meaning the loss of dozens of jobs every month. It pictures pretty well how wrong the relationship between farmers, retailers and consumers has gone in this country — a matter that Labour and the Conservatives have now agreed must be addressed. The latest move comes from the Tories, who this week pledged to set up a new supermarket ombudsman, charged with powers to prevent leading retailers from using their size and influence to squeeze the profit margins of farmers and other suppliers. Such moves, it is hoped, may prevent the disappearance of an industry that has helped to shape the British countryside.

Read on here on Times Online