Jamie Oliver is yet again campaigning to improve our knowledge of the convenient food we consume on a daily basis. Not content enough on ruining school menus in the United Kingdom his latest target are kids in Los Angeles who are exposed to high fat, high calorie school meals and the proliferation of fast-food chain restaurants. Jamie’s mission to alter the menus in schools and restaurants however undermines the patrons and students freedom of choice and is completely unfair to those who can eat the so called ‘fast’ food sensibly and in moderation.
Oliver, on this occasion, particularly focused on one independent restaurant owner who served food that Oliver did not approve of. In an effort to persuade him to try and adopt a healthier, yet more expensive menu, Oliver deployed a young overweight teen to tell the story of how her parents had died of diabetes as a result of eating this unhealthy food; her ten year old sister was also suffering from the condition. Tears streaming, she begged and pleaded to the restaurant owner to change his menu. Diabetes is a terrible disease and one cannot help but feel sorry for this young girl whose family has been so affected by it, but ultimately, eating too much of the wrong types of food and subsequent obesity is not the fault of the companies that sell and market the food. Obesity comes as a result of an insatiable appetite not because there are restaurants that serve “fatty” food. What has happened to choice and freewill? Are people so enticed by the colourful menus and clever marketing of these fast-food chains that they cannot resist the pull and temptation of another “cheese-covered” product of some variety? Business is business, if a restaurant owner creates money by selling high calorie food at a good return then you cannot expect them to change their menu because someone has not controlled their diet and become ill. Restaurant owners are not responsible for ramming food down your gullet or preventing you from exercising. Irresponsible parents should be lectured and educated, not the business owners, who are able to make a fat profit out of their fat customers.
With talks about duty on alcohol being raised in an attempt to combat binge drinking, under-age drinking and alcohol abuse, how long is it before they are being raised on food that is over a certain calorie limit? Those that enjoy food sensibly could potentially be punished for those that cannot cope with the complex ritual that is undertaking regular exercise and putting down the pie. Raising duties in this manner is fundamentally wrong and punishes many who aren’t responsible for problems such as alcoholism and obesity.
The fast-food world was recently rocked by the news that Ronald McDonald could go the way of Cheryl Cole and receive the axe as he symbolises the consumption of McDonalds’ fast-food products. Again, why should the company have to part with the world-famous clown because irresponsible parents cannot prevent their kids from becoming obese and suffering from related health issues? Concerns about the clown are completely misplaced; he is certainly a creepy symbol, yet he remains somewhat of an institution in the industry. Priorities are quite obviously distorted in this modern age anyway; as Ronald the clown is tossed off the McDonalds’ bandwagon, the Hamburgler still remains at large.
People become obese because they overeat, this is not the fault of the restaurant owners. Symbols and marketing don’t equate to widening waistlines. People, regardless of their size, as far as I am aware, operate under a certain level of freewill; if they wish to prevent conditions such as Diabetes, they don’t have to visit McDonalds. It needs to be understood that eating at these establishments is a matter of choice, menu’s shouldn’t have to change because some people cannot control their appetite. A super-sizing of minds is most definitely needed in the space of removing the super-size meals.
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