While Britain’s food Nazis have suffered a setback, the safety despots in this country have taken a bit more of the fun out of Christmas.
Brandishing their absurd health and safety rule books, the tossers have scuttled an Auckland tradition of throwing lollies and squirting water at the crowd during Christmas parades.
The Herald tells us of their tyrannical nonsense here.
People entering floats in this year’s Orewa New World Santa Parade have been warned by the parade organisers that wrapped sweets must not be thrown from floats or thrown into the spectator crowd by clowns and others walking alongside.
There will also be a ban on water pistols and water bombs and missiles being used on floats or by walkers.
The story says the Kumeu Rotary Santa Parade has $1200 of lollies to hand out during its December 7 event.
Hand out is the operative word here.
Good old-fashioned lolly scrambles have been banned by Auckland Council’s grinches.
And – bugger me – great care must be taken in handing out sweets, too.
It’s as if The Beast of Blenheim might somehow get in on the act.
Clowns tossing handfuls of lollies from buckets are treated as a hazard in the health and safety plan filed with the council by event organiser Dale Wallace, who is arranging her ninth Santa parade.
“People ask me if they can walk down beside the crowd handing them out but we are very careful how we do all that,” she said yesterday.
“I manage to get family and friends dressed up as clowns and we have 12 people who know what’s required and they only give them out to the little ones and hand it to them.”
So dishing out the lollies has become a closed shop, limited to family and friends.
Oh, and this Wallace woman is writing letters to 60 float operators asking them not to throw water bombs or use water pistols.
We must suppose she imagines someone might drown.
“It’s a major hazard and last year two floats had water cannons and were drenching spectators.
The victims included guests of honour Mayor Len Brown and local councillor Penny Webster.
It’s instructive the Webster woman is not complaining.
“Everybody gets involved and we all have fun,” said Mrs Webster, who has written to the council’s events manager David Burt to complain about the rules.
This Burt bloke says the bans were adopted at the request of health and safety advisers.
“It’s a safe, commonsense approach to it.”
And staying at home would be safe too.
So how many accidents have been suffered by kids diving for lollies or being sprayed by water pistols?
Alf reckons none and Burt did not know whether the ban was based on evidence of accidents or the advisers were being “risk averse”.
The fun-reducers would be askance at what has happened in Britain.
So would Sue Kedgley and all the other food police who go spare at the idea of kids enjoying a tuck-in of Big Macs and fries.
The Daily Mail says here that a kids’ fizzy drink has won the right to be labelled as one of the recommended five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables.
Even though it is sold by McDonald’s and contains around six teaspoons of sugar.
The fast-food giant has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority watchdog to put Fruitizz in the same category as eating an apple or a serving of broccoli.
The drink is a mixture of fruit juice concentrate – including grape, raspberry and lemon – with fizzy water, natural flavourings and the preservative potassium sorbate.
A small 250ml serving costs 89p.
It has 100 calories and 25g of sugar, which equates to around six teaspoons.
The high levels of sugar come from the fruit juice content.
But the ASA said that the addition of natural flavourings and preservatives in the drink ‘did not negate the five-a-day benefits of that 150ml of fruit juice, providing the entire 250ml serving was consumed’.
The ASA investigation was launched in response to complaints about a McDonald’s TV commercial and an advert on the Mumsnet website.
A voiceover on the TV advert said: ‘Grape, apple, and raspberry juice with refreshing sparkling water.
‘Fruitizz is full of fruity bubbles with no added sugar, artificial colours or flavours. And it’s one of your child’s five a day.’
A McDonald’s spokesman is delighted.
‘In the development of Fruitizz we followed the five-a-day guidance provided by the Department of Health.
‘Fruitizz contains no added sugars, artificial colours or artificial flavours and all size servings provide one daily portion of fruit, as defined by the Department of Health.’
But Malcolm Clark, of the Children’s Food Campaign, said the ASA ruling was evidence that the rules which define health claims around fruit and vegetables are not strict enough.
They never will be, of course, for him and his ilk.