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Home > Media

Journojism: The nanny state on your plate

23 January 2005

Hold the front page! PizzaExpress's D'Autunno salad, made with salad, chicken, aubergine, almonds and dressing, has been found to contain 54.7g of fat, compared with 21.9g in a Big Mac and fries! Christ, it's the new Watergate! This is what you become a journalist for!

Along with numerous other papers, The Sunday Times covered this quasi-story using the transparently insincere outrage so beloved of journalists and stupid people. As ever, it's a blame game:

'Angry campaigns have been directed at companies such as McDonald's, Burger King and KFC. But others including PizzaExpress, Pizza Hut and Cafi Rouge have encountered little criticism.'

Yeah, the fucking bastards have got off lightly and this must stop! It's time for PizzaExpress and the rest of their chain restaurant mates to get the barrage of criticism they so richly deserve!

To reiterate: PizzaExpress. Bastards. Just fucking bastards.

Ersatz outrage aside, what's really lame about this 'story' is the fact that the same papers who were busy lambasting PizzaExpress are exactly the same ones who bang on about the 'nanny state'. If slagging the D'Autunno salad isn't nanny
statism, then what is?

Firstly, there's the blindingly obvious fact that if a salad comes with chicken, crispy bacon, croutons or a baron of deep fried beef in dripping, it's probably going to be slightly less healthy. The idea that the fat is 'hidden' is also bollocks, at least to anyone with a thimbleful of brains. If something is rich and creamy or contains lots of meat or fried things, then, shockingly, it may contain fat. The Sunday Times was equally upset that a Pizza Hut medium Meat Feast pizza contains more fat than a Big Mac and fries. But isn't there a tiny clue in the name of the pizza that it might contain more calories than, say, water?

Secondly there's the idea that some evil scam has been perpetrated on PizzaExpress customers. But the D'Autunno salad is designed as a main course. It's meant to be tasty and that means adding more things to it than just lettuce. What's the story here? Time to clamp down on restaurants that serve food?

We'd suggest that if any readers find themselves in the terrifying situation of having ordered a chicken salad that they suspect contains fat, they should eat the greenery and leave some of the chicken and dressing, But this would be irresponsible of us. Instead we would advise you to retire to a safe distance and
notify the authorities by dialling 999.

For our part, we're starting a campaign to get the government to set up a Ministry of Fats and Carbohydrates to ensure that innocent consumers' lives aren't blighted by the lies of PizzaExpress and their cronies. We're sure we've got the backing of the Sunday Times.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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