Bloombergery on the March

by Andrew Stuttaford

In Denmark (via NPR):

Denmark, the land of luscious lardy pork ribs and those famous blue butter cookie tins, is not known for having a major obesity problem. In fact, Danes are among the thinnest people in Europe and beyond….when the tiny Scandinavian country announced it would be imposing a 16 Kroner (about $3 U.S.) tax on every kilogram of saturated fat as a way to discourage poor eating habits and raise revenue, we were left scratching our heads.

How’s that going to work?

Ole Linnet Juul, food director at Denmark’s Confederation of Industries, tells The Washington Post that the tax will increase the price of a burger by around $0.15 and raise the price of a small package of butter by around $0.40.

Note that this obnoxiously overbearing piece of legislation was introduced by Denmark’s outgoing right-of-center government.

And then (via the Daily Mail) there’s busybody David Cameron in the UK, micro-managing what matters while the Eurozone burns:

Britain’s biggest supermarkets are today given an ultimatum by the Prime Minister: Radically reduce  the number of plastic bags you hand out by choice, or I will force you to by law. David Cameron warns that unless stores deliver ‘significant falls’ over the next 12 months, they could either be banned outright from giving out single-use bags or be legally required to charge customers for them.

The tiresome Cameron has form in this area, of course. In opposition he attacked a retail chain for selling half-price Chocolate Oranges (a magnificent product, incidentally, superior in every way to the rather dull fruit from which it may, however remotely, be related) and now, clearly crazed by power, he has arranged for this:

For more than a century HP Sauce has been a staple of many a British dining table. But after 116 years of being produced to a carefully guarded recipe, the brown sauce which famously bears a picture of the Houses of Parliament on the label has been secretly altered at the request of Government health chiefs. Heinz, the American company which bought the famous British brand in 2005, has changed the celebrated concoction that includes tomatoes, malt vinegar, molasses, dates, tamarind and secret spices to reduce the salt content….Heinz made the changes after signing up to the Coalition Government’s Responsibility Deal, a programme of targets for reducing the level of fats and salts used by food manufacturers. The key pledges include an agreement to reducing salt in food so people eat 1g less per day by end of 2012.

The changes have apparently further degraded the already revolting taste of HP Sauce, the Dr Pepper of condiments and a wildly popular disgrace to British dinner plates for generations. To tinker with it is to mess with a part of Britain’s heritage, however nasty, that has brought pleasure to millions. That’s not something that a Conservative-led government should do. Then again, David Cameron is not a…