Saturday, 21 September 2013

Things I Wouldn’t Put in My Mouth - a very short list

00:00:00 Posted by Ashley Lister , , 2 comments
 by Ashley Lister
  
 I try not to put anything blue in my mouth. This includes blue Smarties.

Smarties have been with us in one form or another since 1882. According to Wikipedia they were briefly renamed Smarties Chocolate Beans in 1937 but forced to change the name the following year because it was feared the word ‘beans’ might be misleading.

You might read that previous sentence and wonder how stupid the chocolate buying public must be if it’s thought they would be confused in such a way. Read on and find out just how stupid the chocolate buying public really is.

The blue Smartie was introduced in 1988 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Smarties being called Smarties. The crispy shell of the Smartie was turned blue by the addition of various food colourings, including E133 – Brilliant Blue.

Although the blue Smartie was only supposed to be a brief promotional tool it was an immediate success. Blue foods are unusual in nature and, aside from this novelty aspect, children reportedly liked the way it stained the tongue.

But it transpired that blue Smarties were possibly not the healthiest item that parents should be forcing down their children’s throats – and bear in mind this was the late eighties after the success of Jimmy Savile and Gary Glitter when quite a lot of unpalatable things had already been stuffed down children's throats. In a fascinating article about blue Smarties and the toxic cocktail of additives they contained, (http://autoimmunethyroid.wordpress.com/2006/06/01/blue-smarties-and-the-cocktail-effect/) a writer on behalf of the Auto Immune Thyroid Disease website transcribes parliamentary reports on the toxicity of the blue Smarties.

This is from the paper cited in that article:

The research suggests that specific combinations can have a neurotoxic effect.
The researchers at the University of Liverpool examined the toxic effects on nerve cells by using a combination of the following four common food additives:
E133 Brilliant Blue with E621 monosodium glutamate (MSG) and
E104 Quinoline Yellow with E951 L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine methyl ester.
The mixtures of the additives had a much more potent effect on nerve cells than each additive on its own. The effect on cells was up to four times greater when Brilliant Blue and MSG were combined, and up to seven times greater when Quinoline Yellow and Aspartame were combined.
The study shows that when the nerve cells were exposed to MSG and Brilliant Blue or Aspartame and Quinoline Yellow the additives stopped the nerve cells from normal growth and interfered with proper signalling systems.
The experiments were done in laboratory conditions and the additives were combined in concentrations that theoretically reflect the compound that enters the bloodstream after a typical children’s snack and drink.
Shortly after this research was published, Nestlé Rowntree dropped their blue Smartie.

Whilst it’s laudable that Nestlé Rowntree dropped their blue Smartie after laboratory experiments had proved that the product had the potential to cause brain damage in its young target audience, it seems to me that this information wasn’t made clear to the general public. Either that or the effects of brain damage were already in place.

FaceBook groups were created demanding the blue Smartie be brought back. Individuals began campaigning to have the blue Smartie reintroduced. People spoke nostalgically about the ‘good old days’ of the blue Smartie and waxed wistfully and lyrically about the ‘all blue packs’.

Bowing to public pressure, Nestlé Rowntree have reintroduced a blue Smartie with the aid of a natural colour obtained from a seaweed called spirulina. Personally I think it’s only natural to eat things obtained from seaweed if you’re a piece of plankton, although I’m not expert on these matters and it could be my brain functions have been damaged from eating too many blue Smarties as a child.

However, this methadone version of the original blue Smartie seems to have satisfied consumer appetites so now everyone is happy (apart from the Nestlé Rowntree CEO who believes that all water should be privatised - but that's different blog for a different day).

What does this have to do with poetry? I’ve written a poem.

I’d eat your blue stilton, even though that stuff is blue
I’d drink your blue Blue Bols at a request from you
I would lick your blue waffle if you really wanted that from me
But I would never ever eat your nasty blue Smartie

Reactions:

2 comments:

Colin Davies said...

I would add Smurf penis to the list.

I enjoyed this blog. It present evidence to show that as a race, we are happy to get addicted to anything.

Ashley R Lister said...

Colin - don't knock the smurf penis until you've tried it.

The thing that amazes me with this is that Nestle have managed to keep this so secret.

I suppose we're all busy looking at their asswipe of a CEO who was telling the world that all water should be privatised. Damned good piece of misdirection on their part.

Ash - addicted to most things.