News

Bringing cake into the office is as bad as smoking around others, says expert

Is office cake as bad as passive smoking?

Colleagues bringing cake to the office should think twice, a top food regulator chair has suggested – before equating it to smoking.

Food Standards Agency chairwoman Prof Susan Jebb, who made the comments in a personal capacity, not as the FSA head, said the sweet treat could tempt colleagues.

She told The Times: "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.

"If nobody brought cakes into the office, I would not eat cakes in the day, but because people do bring cakes in, I eat them. Now, OK, I have made a choice, but people were making a choice to go into a smoky pub.

She added: "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.

"We still don't feel like that about food."

Sign up for our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

The professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford also expressed her frustration in a delay for TV watershed for junk food advertising.

She described the ads as "undermining people's free will," before adding: "Advertising means that the businesses with the most money have the biggest influence on people's behaviour. That's not fair.

"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."

In a statement, Jebb for the Food Standards Agency told Indy100: "I want to make it very clear that the views expressed in The Times article are not those of the FSA Board nor do they reflect current or planned FSA policy in any way whatsoever.

"I agreed to join the Health Commission in my role as an academic and the comments were made in a conversation with The Times and in discussion with other Health Commission panel members.

"As The Times article points out I made the comments in a personal capacity and any representation of them as the current position or policy of the FSA is misleading and inaccurate".

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)