WARNING: Eating roast potatoes may seriously harm your health (says nannying quango)


My name is Ben Kelly and I’m a roast potato addict. It started with just the occasional spud, you know, a few boiled or mashed at social gatherings. All the cool kids were eating them. Then I moved to roasted and eventually I could barely imagine a roast dinner without them. Before long I began “fluffing” them to enhance the high.

Now, i’m a 20 a day man. I fluff every time, roast them in goose fat until they’re nice and brown, and crunch into them in a delicious frenzy of culinary ecstasy. It’s a hard life, the life of a roastie addict. I’ve tried the patches, but they did no good. I even tried an E-potato but I got scared by reports of them blowing up in people’s faces. In any case public health activists say they’re nearly as bad as the real thing anyway and their advice is completely impartial and not tainted by ideological zeal at all.

There is a point behind this facetiousness of course. Britain collectively furrowed its brow and rolled its eyes today at more piffling, nannying advice from a Government agency we all fund telling us to introduce more needless worry and misery into our lives by wringing our hands over acrymalide in foods which, of course, will give you all cancer.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a new campaign against the scourge of our age; crispy roast potatoes, toast that has been toasted too much and crisps. “Go gold” is the laughable slogan some marketing exec, collecting a salary from the taxpayer no doubt, has come up with to warn against what they deem to be overcooked food.

So, don’t “fluff” your potatoes to make them extra delicious; it will increase the risk of cancer. Don’t brown your toast to give it a lovely crunch; it will increase the risk of cancer. Probably best to avoid crisps altogether (unless you want cancer). All due to a chemical reaction in high carb foods that takes place when you choose to fry, roast, bake, grill or toast them and forms the basis of the campaign which will, i’m sure, transform lives in a very meaningful way.

Personally my recommendation would be to put pictures of cancerous tumours on plain packaged potatoes, emblazoned with bold letters reading: “WARNING: ROAST POTATOES WILL INCREASE THE RISK OF CANCER”, the bags should then be stored behind closed doors in all shops to try and reduce their consumption. This should be swiftly followed up by a potato tax and restrictions on advertising.

There really is no other way to responds the FSA campaign other than ridicule. We are now bombarded with so much advice from nannying quangos and “public health” campaigners that it all becomes white noise. The hysteria over what we eat, how we cook it, and what will increase the risk of cancer is undermining the more serious health advice we really should be heeding. Advice that can be taken from genuinely important scientific research will fall on deaf ears because of bizarre scaremongering overreactions such as this “go for gold” nonsense.

How many times must we do this? This tedious scenario plays out over and over and over. Britain is becoming a timid country beset by irrational public health scares; please, let’s get a grip.

First, some quango or public health body publishes some research with their latest advice on what we shouldn’t eat and how we are increasing the risk of cancer.  Then the media sensationalises it to fill an empty news day and whips up a health scare frenzy with every single newspaper reporting on it, every newsreader announcing it it, morning radio talk shows discussing it and journalists with apparently nothing better to do writing about it (oh, wait…). Finally, a few people note the advice, most ignore and forget about it and we all move on… until the next time.

Look, everything in moderation, okay? That advice is mind numbingly clichéd but we should all live by it because it’s common sense. No taxpayer money was diverted into my bank account for reminding you of that advice. People of Britain I urge you to have roast potatoes with your dinner this weekend; and fluff them up before cooking to make them extra crispy. Don’t worry, be happy.

Ben is the Conservatives for Liberty Director of Online Communications.  Follow him on Twitter: @TheScepticIsle

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The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty