"Pot-holed roads, crumbling schools, litter-strewn streets – there’s no shortage of problem areas crying out for their attention.Source here
But councils believe they have found a better use for their money: reducing the number of holes in chip shop salt shakers.Research has suggested that slashing the holes from the traditional 17 to five could cut the amount people sprinkle on their food by more than half.
And so at least six councils have ordered five-hole shakers – at taxpayers’ expense – and begun giving them away to chip shops and takeaways in their areas.
Leading the way has been Gateshead Council, which spent 15 days researching the subject of salty takeaways before declaring the new five-hole cellars the solution.
Officers collected information from businesses, obtained samples of fish and chips, measured salt content and ‘carried out experiments to determine how the problem of excessive salt being dispensed could be overcome by design’.
They decided that the five-hole pots would reduce the amount of salt being used by more than 60 per cent yet give a ‘visually acceptable sprinkling’ that would satisfy the customer.
The council commissioned Drywite Ltd – a catering equipment company based in the West Midlands – to make five-hole shakers and bought 1,000 of them at a cost of £2,000, giving them away to fast-food outlets in their areas.
Drywite confirms that it has since received orders for the shakers from at least five other councils, including Rochdale Borough in Greater Manchester.
Another giving the shakers away is Labour-controlled Middlesbrough Council, where the idea has run into fierce criticism.
Cllr Chris Hobson, leader of the Conservatives, said: ‘This is just silly, a total waste of money in an area where council tax is very high. I’m all for good health but do they really think they are going to stop people using as much salt simply by putting fewer holes in thecellar? They’ll just shake it for longer.’
Beryl Scott, who owns the Chipchase Chippy in Linthorpe in the city, said a council worker had visited the previous week to explain the merits of less salty fish and chips. ‘He said he had a salt cellar with five holes to give me free.
I thought it was a joke. It doesn’t matter how many holes it has, people are going to put on as much salt as they want.’
Another local chip shop owner, Carol Ackerman, who runs Carol’s Plaice in the suburb of Acklam, said: ‘People will just put on more salt if they want more.
‘In fact, we have had some people unscrewing the lids to do so.’
Gateshead Council defended its decision. A spokesman said: ‘Research carried out by us discovered customers were often receiving huge quantities of salt with their fish and chips – up to half their daily allowance. The council was so disturbed it decided to commission a manufacturer to produce a salt shaker with fewer holes, which it distributed free to every fish and chip shop and hot food takeaway in Gateshead.
‘We believe the cost to be a small price to pay for potentially saving lives.’
The scheme is being promoted by the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services, which is responsible for ensuring councils follow food hygiene rules. A spokesman said: ‘Heart disease costs taxpayers £7billion a year so to say that projects such as this are a waste of money is mind-boggling.’
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
UK: Nanny State Gone Mad
Monty Python would never thought up such stupidity. Therefore I am not sure what to do after reading this story: to laugh my ass off...or to weep in compassion for a once proud people who gave up liberty in the pursuit of government assured safety.