Big Brother, Little Pizza: England Moves Toward Limiting Size and Ingredients Of Pizza and Other Dishes

PizzaI have previously discussed my opposition to sugary drink bans or prohibitive taxation schemes in Chicago and New York.  While Cook County reluctantly yielded to public opinion and court decisions recently, other cities have continued to penalize the unhealthy choices of consumers. Now England is considering a measure to put a calorie count on pizza, ready meals and sandwiches to combat obesity. As you might expect, I feel the same way about this measure as a denial of individual choice despite the undeniable well-intentioned purpose of the measure.  It is the type of law only a Little Caesar would relish  . . .  other than the pizza chain of course.

Under the draft proposals, a standard pizza for one could contain no more than 928 calories and “a savoury pie” should contain no more than 695 calories.  That would fundamentally limit the size and ingredients of dishes like pizza and remove the right of individuals to choose for themselves. It also disregards the differences between people in their ability to consume calories or to make trade offs. Some people engage in the popular fasting diets where they only eat for short periods but eat anything that they want. The rule would also not include alcohol and other high calorie drinks or table breads.

Like the attempted ban on sugary drinks, this proposal would result in ridiculous changes in ordering. Consumers could simply order more individual slices and restaurants could tailor their dishes to allow for savory smaller pieces to be bought tapas style.  Then England would have to start limit consumers to a total calorie count for meals instead of dishes.

I have been a long critic of the “nanny state” model that seems to have taken hold of the United Kingdom.  It seems that both individual choice and speech are now viewed as matter of regulation by officials who want to actively shape society and values.  Just because this is being done from a liberal perspective does not make it any less authoritarian in my view.

59 thoughts on “Big Brother, Little Pizza: England Moves Toward Limiting Size and Ingredients Of Pizza and Other Dishes”

  1. The British healthcare system is the 3rd largest employer in the world. On Election Day these people vote their jobs. Back in the 80s I worked for a defense contractor. All us union members voted for Regan.

    1. Not one comment that compares their healthcare system to those of other western nations. Virtually every statement made in that article is generic and applies to most if not all nations.

      Back to English healthcare. Insurance only guarantees a place in line.

      1. “Across the 28 countries of the EU, in 2015, the UK was ranked in 10th place for male life expectancy but only 17th place for female life expectancy.”

        It appears that Allan cannot read with retention.

        1. David, it is obvious you do not know what you are talking about. Life expectency is a very broad metric with regard to a healthcare systems outcomes. Life span is affected by a multiplicity of things that have little direct effects on outcomes; examples are genetics, war, drugs, location.

          For someone that should have had substantial study in mathematics and statistics sometimes you don’t sound very bright.

          When one compares outcomes (will I live or will I die; will I get better or will I get worse) the US ranks very high. Britain compared to its advanced western friends is doesn’t do so well.

          CONCORD is an outcome study of common cancers where the US excels compared to other countries.

          Other outcome comparisons likewise show the US in a good light.

          If you want to act stupid, go ahead.

  2. As far as restaurant pizza goes, nothing pisses me off more than when they leave an inch-and-a-half wide gap between the sauce/toppings and the edge of the pie. It’s a rip-off I tell you, and blasphemous to the gods of pizza. Who wants a ring of dough?

  3. Very much tongue-in-cheek, how about legislating, under huge penalties, that all beer, ale, stout, porter, etc. be low alcohol and low calorie. Doing so might improve the tourist economy in France and Ireland.

  4. Wrong again, Jonathan Turley.

    Britain has NHS, the free National Health Service. That means tax supported. The welfare state has an obligation to keep NHS costs down.

    If that means controlling the size of pizza, so be it. The British are not about to give up NHS.

    1. By keeping costs down British women have a much higher 5 year mortality rate than other western nations and the US. Should British women be up in arms about such care or should they just have another slice of pizza?

      1. Allan — A link is required because all the statistics I can find strongly disagree. As it is, you appear to be just Making Stuff Up.

        1. David Benson is the King of Making Stuff Up and owes me fourteen citations (one from the OED) and the source of a quotation, after nineteen weeks, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – How dare you demand a link from someone when you never give them yourself. You are the King of Making Stuff Up.

          1. David seldom will give specific links and is frequently makes mistakes. He doesn’t check his work and he relies on his biases. Right now the question is whether or not after asking for a citation if he will actually look at it.

        2. David Benson is the King of Making Stuff Up and owes me sixteen citations (one from the OED) and the source of a quotation, after nineteen weeks, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – BTW, we are going to need links to your claims here.

        3. That was on breast cancer, but they are lower than a lot of western nations in a lot of metrics. See the CONCORD study. Though you make things up I don’t.

            1. David Benson is the King of Making Stuff Up and owes me sixteen citations (one from the OED) and the source of a quotation, after nineteen weeks, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – I don’t know why you’re complaining, you owe me 16 citations.

              1. David doesn’t give citations, but I actually gave the name of the study which was published in the Lancet. It compares common cancer outcomes internationally among 30-40 western countries. It’s one of the best studies of its kind published in a major journal. It showed the US to be way ahead on these outcome comparisons and Britain fell quite behind.

                1. Allan – don’t waste your time. He would never read it. He hasn’t read anything since Weart’s 1st edition.

  5. The summer immediately following my graduation from college I worked at Pizza Hut in Shawnee Okla. It was located in a 2 story run down white frame building that had been an old neighborhood grocery store. I look back on that time as the “summer of my dish content” 🙂 because the pizza was out of this world. And on that subject, it was on a July night, at that very Pizza Hut during that summer, that we, the wait staff, cooks, and patrons, all gathered around a little black and white TV and watched Neil Armstrong step onto the moon as we enjoyed our pizza.
    The sauce at Pizza Hut was especially flavorful back then, and in my opinion has not been the same since. Today, I’m sure it’s healthier than back-in-the-day. Whatever the reason, it’s a shame.
    C’mon…Let pizza be pizza! Release the Calories! Right, Paul C? LOL

    1. Cindy Bragg – we have Papa Murphy’s here. They make the pizza fresh and you take it home and cook it. Godzooks it is good. They do not spare anything. They know what the Gods require. 😉

      1. Thank you Paul C. Good to know! It seems like our daughter has mentioned how good they are, but we don’t have one where we live.

          1. LOL. Paul C. Actually if our daughter had more time, she could make homemade from scratch for us, like when she was a teenager. She has been a sometimes chef. Makes wonderful basil pesto, too…..Homemade, like your papa murphy’s is so incredible! I’m getting hungry!

  6. Most pizza shops charge $2.50 for a slice of pizza in my area.

    The best buy frozen pizza are California & Dr. Oetker brand. $10 for 3 on sale. Also stop buy the fish market & pick up some spicy crab dip on sale & put on the frozen pizza. Then bake it……Wow

  7. This is just another reason to do things yourself. Make your own pizza at home to any size or toppings you desire. Let the food industry take a hit and have them fight the battle with their resources.

    1. I agree, Darren. Every man and woman should learn basic cooking techniques. People generally use less sodium in home-cooked meals than meals served in restaurants.

      1. Definitely on both points.

        The sodium content is for me one of the largest turnoffs to restaurants. It is very difficult to have a low sodium diet maintained and eat out.

    2. Darren Smith – this is the fault of Big Brother government, not business. You are striking out at the wrong person. However, I do see an underground market breaking out for deep-dish pizza, etc. when this goes into effect.

      1. I understand your point but my strategy is that politicians do not listen to individuals as much as they do donor corporations. Also in the case of food, and I do not know if this might be the case with the tax law in the UK, if the base ingredients are purchased as a food item it is not subject to sales tax yet as a restaurant product it is.

        A meritorious practice in my view is to deprive the government of as much tax revenue as the law allows–not tax evasion but tax avoidance. Government often squanders tax revenue and too frequently allocates it toward practices that I do not consider honest or benevolent. For me I see far too often politicians who are corrupt and craft laws that deprive people of their personal liberty. On a national scale politicians as a whole use tax revenue to prosecute unjustified military interventions and deprive innocent people in foreign countries of their lives.

        So if the government puts a fat tax or ban on certain foods I will either find another source or make it myself. Surely my individual choice is irrelevant on the broader scale but it matters to me. If others chose to adopt the same strategy, perhaps some of the stupidity forced upon the population by government might have negative consequences for the pols/gov’t.

        1. Darren Smith – the UK taxes everything. They are going to get you one way or the other.

  8. We must not give the government the righ to intrude upon the minutia of our lives. That is not its purview. Allowing a government to treat you like a child or handicapped adult is anathema to freedom.

    It is the individual’s right to choose their diet. Once they have the right to control whether a business may provide a clean shopping bag to customers to transport their food, then they can ban straws, tax or ban soda, limit the calories we may consume in a meal. This is also what led to a sharp increase in student hunger at schools across America, not because of poverty, but because the kids were limited to calorie count. Athletes were starving after being served a meal sufficient to feed a couch potato. Many kids dumped their steamed veggies and hummus in the trash.

    Freedom and prosperity requires limited government.

  9. All who perform heavy duty labor, are in every part of the military, and perform in sports at any level (common amateur, Olympic, and professional) must adhere to that regimen.

    1. Do you support criminalizing all recreational drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and every self destructive personal choice one can make? How strange that typically the same group who advocates for calorie bans on what people are permitted, by government dispensation, to eat, are usually the same ones claiming that drug abuse is not a crime. We should give out free needles to make it easier for junkies to shoot up heroin. They legalize marijuana, which certainly has some medicinal benefits, as well as potential for abuse. People can toke marijuana, which releases carcinogens and causes lung damage. They are enabled to live on the street, which is a lot more unhealthy than eating a pizza. They allow people to defecate in the street of San Francisco and drop their needles infected with HIV and Hep C on the street in front of restaurants and playgrounds. Their policies destroyed nuclear families, which was a direct cause of the rampant poverty, crime, gangs, shootings, and mass incarceration of black men in Chicago, Detroit, and LA. But it’s the calories they attack? The calories of a pizza? Government meddling has led to the loss of thousands of young black lives, and their answer is, of course, to ramp up the meddling. When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail…

      1. Karen: if abortion is ‘murder’ than alcohol and tobacco should be banned. Cigarettes are one of the few legal products whose regular use can kill the consumer. Alcohol causes many deaths as well. Alcohol is also linked to fetal alcohol syndrome, domestic violence, high ratios of felony crimes, industrial accidents and liver disease.

        1. Karen: if abortion is ‘murder’ than alcohol and tobacco should be banned.

          Why? To please you? Sticking a surgical instrument in an unborn child’s head or soaking said child in caustic brine kills the child in peculiarly gruesome. Alcohol doesn’t cause trouble at all unless you drink to excess, which only a single-digit population does. As for tobacco, it’s one of life’s pleasures. It carries a risk, but the risk is generally that you’ll die a few years earlier than you otherwise would have.

          1. “Alcohol doesn’t cause trouble at all unless you drink to excess, which only a single-digit population does. As for tobacco, it’s one of life’s pleasures”.

            Though alcoholics may comprise a small portion of the population, they account for high ratios of beer, wine and liquor sales.

            What’s more, crime stats for both felonies and misdemeanors, include high ratios of offenses where alcohol factored. The range is broad; everything from Disorderly Conducts to Sexual Assaults and Murders. Which shouldn’t be surprising. We have all witnessed crimes where offenders were drunk.

          2. DSS – now that women cannot get diet pills by the handfulls, they need to smoke. Smoking is an appetite suppressant. You want a bunch of fat feminists running around. Oh, wait, there already are. 😉

      2. Karen S – what are you going to eat when you have the munchies after smoking your legal pot?

  10. Here’s what happens in REAL LIFE. Freddy “FatBoy” Smythe-Glouton simply buys TWO pizzas, thus increasing his caloric intake

    Behind every Liberal is a Totalitarian screaming to get out.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Just because this is being done from a liberal perspective does not make it any less authoritarian in my view.

      I noticed JT slipped this comment in and no one questioned it.

  11. So, I wonder if large or party sized pizzas are banned? Only individual pizzas allowed?

  12. Boris needs to take over. May needs to go. They are f**king with the food of the gods. Lightning will strike.

  13. We all now where this ideology will lead, why not save ourselves the problem and stop it now?

  14. What happens when you increase the size of the bureaucracy past the needs of the workload; they add more regulations to justify their existence.

    “Idle hands….”

  15. England is a nanny state. Healthcare is state provided so England is trying to keep the costs of their investment down. Control over what one eats might be considered an unintended consequence of the nanny state.

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