Plain Packaging of McDonalds and Coke

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Plain Packaging of McDonalds and Coke!



Grapes, strawberries and figs.

It’s not often that good news greets one on awakening. I was still rubbing my eyes expecting the usual diet of slaughter of innocents or Trump tweets news on my IPhone when I read this article;

I nearly broke out in a celebratory waltz. Sorry for the link but let me give you the more salient bits saving you to click on the link.


“Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws are a legitimate public health measure, according to a World Trade Organisation dispute panel ruling reported by Bloomberg.It cited two people close to the situation as saying the panel had rejected a case made by Cuba, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Indonesia, which argued the laws constituted illegal barriers to trade.Such a ruling from the WTO has been widely anticipated as giving a green light for other countries to roll out similar laws, not only on tobacco but also on alcohol and UNHEALTHY FOODS.”

The higher-case my own.


The plain packaging on tobacco products has been in place for a number of years with enormous success. The poor die-hard addicts are now forced to go to the counter and whisper their brand to the sale girl, furtively looking around for any witness to their evil habit.


With Australia’s enormous obesity problems having overtaken the tobacco scourge, I hope to have enough years left to see a similar approach to unhealthy foods. The experts are pointing out that poverty and obesity are linked. Social disadvantaged rural communities having the largest proportion of overweight people. In cities it is the same, with suburbs far flung from the city-centre and cheaper to buy into, showing the same problems.


It might also be that educational differences play a role than just levels of wealth differences. I disagree that the obesity is just a matter of the poor not able to afford healthy food. A family of four eating at McDonalds with a ‘ Big Mac’ at $6.95 each, could easily buy them a bagful of  nutritious foods. But, at the local supermarkets awaits unhealthy food traps as well. It is not for nothing that the lay-outs at the supermarket usually puts the healthy choices well past the stacks of more profitable Coke cases, sugar laden rubbish with simmering sauces, instant foods, pre-digested microwave snacks etc. before the shopper gets to the vegetables and fruit section. Row after row of breakfast choco-pops, corn flakes, sugar muesli, soft drinks. Even babies are now corrupted readied to obesity when mothers can squeeze a kind of sugar laden ‘health’ pop-in tube inside its squealing little mouth.   All those tempting instant foods has to be trudged past in order to arrive at the apples and cauliflowers.


It is just as criminal as tobacco before the plain packaging came into place. Will it come to  killer foods being treated the same? Just imagine McDonald addicts huddling under railway bridges  secretly munching out of plain grey paper bags on their sugar and fat hits. The shy KFC merchants plying their pernicious wares from behind the counter all hidden and in plain packages from cupboards like cigarettes. Dietary advisers inside super-markets steering shoppers to good healthy foods. Clear simple labelling and according to their nutritional values. People can still buy sugar and fat laden foods but at their own well informed peril.


I am not so sure about those Strasbourg knobs or Salamis, Brat-worst and Black Pudding. Perhaps they ought to be excluded or given a neutral rating. I would definitely give 5 stars to Butter Milk.

What do you reckon?


Ari Silverstein Added May 19, 2017 - 9:32pm
It’s scientific fact that smokers are less obese than non-smokers.  So perhaps by making smoking prohibitively expensive and shameful, society traded one set of health problems for a different set.  The way I see it, government should have nothing to say about how a company chooses to package its products.  It’s simply another example of the nanny state run amuck.  Once your packaging regulation finds its way to fast food there will be no stopping it from affecting all sorts of other products deemed unsafe from the nanny state.  Actually, the slippery slope began with packaging on cigarettes…see this article. 
Gerard Oosterman Added May 19, 2017 - 10:24pm
Ari Silverstein
Hardly nanny state. It is irresponsible to allow unhealthy foods to kill us. We have laws regulating traffic, prevent shooting each other, stealing etc.
Of course Governments should govern.
It is just our terminal materialism that allows some Governments, quite calmly and callously,  for hundreds of thousands to die prematurely because of addictions to bad sugary foods. 
The cost alone will finally force the US and Australia to do something. Many countries already do.
Autumn Cote Added May 20, 2017 - 5:38am
Please note, it's against the rules to post more than one article within a 48 hour period.  If you're looking to spend more time on Writer Beat, please comment on the work of others.  Speaking of which, this article was written by an author deserved of more comment activity.  
Also note, any previously submitted article can be edited after it was submitted.  Simply click on your name in the upper right hand corner and it should be self-explanatory from there.  
Gerard Oosterman Added May 20, 2017 - 6:12am
Autumn Cote;
Did not read the rules. I'll try and be obedient.
Maureen Foster Added May 20, 2017 - 11:21am
My kids eat when I go to McDonalds and find a way to not eat most of what I give them from home.  I imagine many parents are equally thankful to McDonalds for putting together meals that get eaten, even if it means more sugar than I'd like to seem them eat and a toy surprise.  Are you saying it’s healthier for kids not to eat? 
Mircea Negres Added May 20, 2017 - 3:19pm
A friend's children from a previous marriage are not obese, but their mother doesn't cook and instead feeds them a steady diet of McDonalds or some other such crap. It was an enormous struggle to get them to eat the traditional South African food his second wife cooks because they're not used to it and being kids are fussy to say the least. I eventually got around the problem by buying some paninis and boneless chicken breast, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and whatnot, then made them what looked like chicken burgers with a salad, which they ate with relish after shouting "hamburgers!" in delight. As for smoking, there's talk of putting pictures of autopsied lungs of smokers on cigarette packs in South Africa. The prices are ridiculously high thanks to government's incessant greed, but I started smoking because of stress, not because the pack of Winstons I bought in 1994 had cool packaging. At the end of the day, I've seen enough blood and death that a picture isn't going to deter me from buying my cancer sticks. Perhaps it will work on others, but it won't have any effect on me, that much I can tell you.  
Gerard Oosterman Added May 20, 2017 - 6:34pm
Maureen Foster;
I have never heard of kids dying of hunger when not eating McDonalds. Your kids seem to have you around their finger tips. McDonalds are rubbish as are KFC and most take-away meals.
Parents should not be thankful of McDonalds. In Australia the McDonald's are infiltrating educational institutions by supporting sport, hoping the kids will get addicted to their pernicious foods that are totally without any nutritional values.
Look at the rates of the morbidly obese in the US and here in Australia. It is killing us!
Gerard Oosterman Added May 20, 2017 - 6:41pm
Mircea Negres;
The pictures of dying smokers were a great turn-off. Australia was the first country to ban advertising of cigarettes. It went one step further with plain packaging and cigarettes only allowed be sold from closed cupboards.
Smoking is now almost banned from most public places.
It made a huge difference and reduced enormously the number of people still smoking  (and dying). A great reduction in costs to society, both monetary and ill-health.
I used to love smoking and sometimes still crave for lighting a ciggi, but I won't.
Gerard Oosterman Added May 20, 2017 - 7:57pm
John G
"Wow, you must be a weak parent. Watch the movie 'Supersize Me' to see the damage you are doing to your kids."
Often the parents just don't know about nutrition. In Amsterdam, some schools with the help of teachers banned all soft drinks and fruit juices from their schools in an effort to combat childhood obesity. They figured that unless you stop obesity in children it is often too late for adults. When parents protested, the teacher held information sessions to inform parents of better choices. You can't get it much better than drink water if children are thirsty! 'Eat fruit, don't drink fruit,' was another slogan.
And, like the cigarette industry fighting tooth and nail to prevent the banning of cigarette ads and limiting sales, the sugar industry with the giants of Coke and McDonalds corporations will fight off anything that will limit sales.
In Australia hospitals that are treating dying patients from the effects of sugar intake still allow soft drink vending machines on their premises.
Can you believe it?
Gerard Oosterman Added May 20, 2017 - 11:31pm
John G;
In Indonesia one sees very young smoking, and most adult men do. It get's worse. McDonalds are making inroads there as in Brazil and other developing countries. Being able and wealthy enough to eat at McDonald's. It is seen as a status symbol. It means 'having arrived.' 
TaraElla Added May 21, 2017 - 3:13am
Perhaps we should consider a sugar tax first.
But even there, agricultural countries like the US and Australia are going to resist hard.
Gerard Oosterman Added May 21, 2017 - 6:44am
Yes, you are right. This will be a hard battle but finally the cost of doing nothing will be greater than tackling the sugar industry.
Leaving it as a matter of 'choice' doesn't work because the might of the million dollar advertising industry far outweigh the plight of mums and dads trying to give their children good nutrition.
Kids will beg for their choco pops breakfasts because that's the culture surrounding them.
Choice doesn't come into it.
Stone-Eater Added May 21, 2017 - 7:21am
Please do note that fast food is not really food.
Wanna kill your kids ? LOL When you translate "fast food" into German you get "almost food". And that's what it is :-)
Stone-Eater Added May 21, 2017 - 7:26am
BTW: My 13-year old daughter loved that stuff too. Until I showed and explained to she's cured and tells her friends "Hey, you're outdated ! Don't know that this stuff is dangerous ?" :-)
Dino Manalis Added May 21, 2017 - 8:54am
Parents have to talk to their children and inform them, packaging isn't the issue, it's what's inside the packaging people want.  I hope Big Tobacco is required to research and develop healthier products that aren't addictive; carcinogenic; or a fire hazard.  With respect to foods and sweets, good nutrition is essential, variety is important, there's no need to ban anything, but people should understand they need healthy food to stay healthy!
Stone-Eater Added May 21, 2017 - 9:42am
When healthy food is twice as expensive as that fast shit, what do you expect ? Fat people in the West are poor people. In Africa it's the opposite....
Bill Kamps Added May 21, 2017 - 9:55am
I will never forget the news clip I saw where a poor obese woman was complaining about how she couldnt feed her family on the dole she was getting.  This is while she was standing in the food aisle with a stack of frozen TV dinners in her hand.  Bad food choices, are not necessarily cheap food choices.  Cooking from scratch is almost always cheaper and better than buying prepared foods either in the supermarket at a take out place.
Gerard Oosterman Added May 21, 2017 - 7:44pm
Bill Kamps;
You're on the money there. Take out food is much more expensive. How much does it cost to buy potatoes, carrots, lentils and some chicken or salmon cutlets? How much does it cost to drink water from the tap?
Try and check on the shopping trolleys of large or obese people and most times it gives you an instant answer on why they are overweight.
There are people genetically disposed to being big but they are a small minority.