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Bringing Cake into Work as Bad as Passive Smoking, UK Food Chief Claims

“We all like to think we’re rational, intelligent, educated people who make informed choices the whole time and we undervalue the impact of the environment.”

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The head of the UK’s top food regulator has claimed that bringing cake into work is just as unhealthy as “passive smoking.”

Susan Jebb, the chairman of the British Food Standards Agency, made the claims during an interview with The Times on Tuesday. Jebb, who is a member of the newspaper’s Health Commission, argued that temptation wrought by cake at work is causing people to make unhealthy choices.

“We all like to think we’re rational, intelligent, educated people who make informed choices the whole time and we undervalue the impact of the environment,” Jebb said. “If nobody brought in cakes into the office, I would not eat cakes in the day, but because people do bring cakes in, I eat them. Now, okay I have made a choice, but people were making a choice to go into a smoky pub.”

Despite noting that smoking and eating cake are not exactly the same, Jebb, who was speaking in a personal capacity and not in her role as FSA chief, claimed that the comparison could be made because passive smoking inflicted harm on other people, and “exactly the same is true of food.”

“With smoking, after a very long time, we have got to a place where we understand that individuals have to make some effort but that we can make their efforts more successful by having a supportive environment,” Jebb added. “But we still don’t feel like that about food.”

According to statistics, 63.7% of the UK population is overweight, and 29.5% of them are obese, while in the United States, 67.9% are overweight, and 37.3% obese. With the current figures as such, Jebb said that the “culture” around treating obesity needed to change.

Along with not bringing cake into work, Jebb argued in favour of restrictions on the advertising of unhealthy foods, claiming that the adverts were “undermining people’s free will,” and that restricting them was not some sort of “nanny state” move by the government.

“Advertising means that the businesses with the most money have the biggest influence on people’s behaviour. That’s not fair,” she added. At the moment we allow advertising for commercial gain with no health controls on it whatsoever and we’ve ended up with a complete market failure because what you get advertised is chocolate and not cauliflower.”

Reaction on social media was one of dismissal, with Jebb being referred to as an “interfering 20-stone busybody” and a “fun-suck.”

Robert Colville, the Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, put the blame for Jebb’s remarks on a failure of the communication of public health policy in general, as policies that are “aimed at a specific chunk of society… has to be presented as though it’s universal,” because “the people doing the nannying… don’t want to seem like they’re saying they’re ‘better’ than others.”

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Jack Hadfield
Written By

Jack Hadfield is the Associate Editor at Valiant News. An investigative reporter from the UK, and the director and presenter of "Destination Dover: Migrants in the Channel, his work has appeared in such sites as Breitbart and The Political Insider. You can follow him on Gab @JH, on Telegram @JackHadders, or see his other social media by visiting

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1 Comment

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    Douglas Krause

    January 20, 2023 at 10:16 am

    It is a freewill choice, and not for you to decide, miss food nazi. Control freaks are not progressive, but they make easy targets when they open their mouths.

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