You can’t have escaped media reports warning us not to eat burnt toast and potatoes in the past few days. New advice, issued by the Food Standards Agency, makes a link between burnt foods and cancer. The real problem with this sort of campaign is the health strategy behind it. People end up mocking such initiatives – this latest one is called “Go for gold” – and the danger is that they distract people from the real and known “big hitters” when it comes to chronic disease. “Yet another thing that’s going to give us cancer”, as people turn the page of their newspaper, munching on a piece of golden toast. It’s ironic that the Food Standards Agency’s website advises people not to over-cook packaged oven chips…which are probably high in transfats…which we know cause heart disease. I just wonder which would be more effective, the “Go for gold campaign”, or measures to address the high consumption of transfats and saturated fats in the UK population.

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