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?

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23 Responses to “Plain Packaging of McDonalds and Coke!”

  1. Carrie Rubin Says:

    I read an article along these lines a while back and thought it a great idea. Imagine a Snickers bar–or some other candy bar–in a plain white wrapper. Would it still tempt us at the checkout line? An interesting avenue to pursue, for sure.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Nicola Roxon, a previous Australian federal Health minister is responsible for the world now looking at Australia for having achieved this milestone in plain packaging together with banning of cigarette advertisements.
      A rare fluke, but none the less amazing for a country that normally shies away from innovative action.
      If only more women would get in Government!


  2. Big M Says:

    Ricky Gervais reckons all obesity inducing foods should be in a glass room, with a sixty cm wide access door. Automatic exclusion for the obese. It would be self limiting!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Curt Mekemson Says:

    One of many things that can and should be done, Gerard. When I came back from Alaska to California in 1986, I was asked to put together an effort to increase the tobacco tax to raise money for environmental programs. I agreed to do it with the proviso that a significant amount of the money go into tobacco use prevention. My suggestion was agreed to and eventually we passed an initiative that channeled over 100 million dollars a year into a wide variety of tobacco prevention programs. As result of that effort, California moved from having one of the highest incident of tobacco use in the US to one of the lowest. Prevention does work if we are willing to invest in it. It is estimated that well over one million lives have been saved and billions in health care costs. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That was a mighty achievement, Curt. Your action is something you would be so proud of.
      Perhaps you could be tempted to come to Australia and try and do the same for health concerns due to bad dietary habits as a result of the big sugar and fat industries pushing their unhealthy foods?

      School sport in Australia is being infiltrated by McDonalds, KFC and others, donating money and ‘free’ gifts and sponsoring sport even at primary school levels.

      ” Give me the child until he is seven and I’ll give you the man.” is a Jesuit motto that the big captains of industry have taken to their evil hearts.


      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        One of theres days I blog about it, Gerard. The tobacco industry spent 25 million dollars to defeat it. And, as I suspect you can imagine, pulled every dirty trick in the political books to defeat the effort.
        Michelle Obama had a new school initiative that would have led school cafeteria’s to serve healthful food. One of the first actions of the Trump administration was to dump the program. Go figure! –Curt


  4. lifecameos Says:

    I have become much more aware of this situation since my diabetes diagnosis. It has been spelt out to me I really must not eat these packaged non foods.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am sorry to hear you have diabetes, I hope this piece hasn’t made you feel bad, especially when you are giving us beautiful poetry that many of us enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lifecameos Says:

        Thank you so much. Your piece did not make me feel any different from that way I feel each time I go to the supermarket. The dietitian from our local Diabetes Trust who took us newbies on a tour of the supermarket said this is the way it is, we will just have to live with it. I had just gasped in surprise at the huge display of chocolate eggs and rabbits in the entry way.


  5. jennypellett Says:

    I think you’re on to something here. It always astounds me that it is my overweight colleagues who endlessly chat about dieting whilst tucking into their staff room snacks at every available opportunity. What’s wrong with these people? Eat less, get thinner…it’s not rocket science. Three meals a day is perfectly adequate. Cakes and baking are unnecessary fodder and should be limited to treats/birthdays only. That’s how I’ve always lived and interestingly, have the same dress size as I did when I was twenty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am told that some people have a genetic disposition to become easily overweight no matter what they eat. But, they used to be the exception and generally might have to be extra careful in what they eat.

      I am no expert but am astonished at the sight of so many children now being obese. Even during the last ten years or so, children are getting bigger. Why on earth are tuck shops at some schools still selling sweets and fatty foods?

      Hospitals have Coke machines installed metres away from patients dying as a result of Coke and Violent Chocolate Crumble bars.
      It doesn’t make sense.

      Of course those large publicly listed medical consortiums are profiting from all that and their share prices are going through the roof.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist Says:

    For myself plain packaging would not be a deter rant to purchase. If I knew it was chocolate I’d still buy but it seems to have had an effect with cigarettes or is it the high taxes. You are right though, we have to try everything to try and stop the countries weight gain

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I was in luck with not having ever had much craving for sugary foods and instead was lured towards the raw herring. Herring eating is still a Dutch cultural thing.

      Each year the first herring during the herring catching season is offered to the King of Holland. This is followed by much fanfare and public dancing on the street, flag waving etc.

      Chocolate or lamingtons have never tempted me. I used to smoke and found this very difficult to give up. I finally achieved it by promising I could take up smoking again when turning seventy. Of course when I did turn seventy I had lost the addiction.

      The financial cost of our shocking dietary habits will easily outdo the cost to big industry selling the stuff.

      Perhaps they could try and introduce the Dutch herring eating habits at all Australian primary schools.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. rod Says:

    This ruling is good. we are having trouble here bringing in minimum unit pricing for alcohol, the drinks industry fighting us every step of the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. stuartbramhall Says:

    Cool. New Zealand has been waiting on the outcome of this case to enact plain packaging legislation of their own.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. auntyuta Says:

    Reblogged this on auntyuta and commented:
    I enjoyed reading this post, Gerard, and am going to reblog it. I reckon it is well worth reading. Thank you!


  10. Forestwoodfolkart Says:

    Hear hear! Plain packaging is a great idea! Let the food stand on its own merits not the marketeers!


  11. ncbasson Says:

    Thanks for the post. Its always interesting to see people discuss food and other health issues. I used to be oblivious to the way society has become. Instant gratification. Instant food. Healthy meals do take more time to prepare. But i bet if people were made aware of all the consequences of eating poorly, along side all the fast food adds they might think just a bit longer before walking into one of them. Statistics shows that if children eat unhealthy before the age of 10 they will struggle to gain a normal healthy body weight or composition for that matter. And struggle with obesity well into adulthood. Its a pitty how certain soft drinks on the market is associated with the emotions of joy and happiness in various adverts, when if people fully understood what they were consuming, they would think twice. In this day and age healthy eating habits have to start with health thinking habits. And healthy thinking with healthy education. Since ive started changing my thinking towards healthy eating habits ive lost several centimetres already. By simply excersizing a bit, reducing sugar intake and eating less startch. Funny thing is once you managed to do this. You realise that starch and sugar makes u somewhat nauseous once you have been weaned off of it. Im certainly greatful for what ive learned and found even better ways now to look after my health since good food alone simply does not cut it. What we think we get these days in the stores just looks good, yet rarely is and tastes like nothing. A simple tomato these days tastes like water. I miss the natural salty taste and flavour. I miss the days when i could eat my grandmothers homegrown fruits and veggies.


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