Tempting treats 'can be killers'

THE marketing of chocolates and sweets may have to be restricted in line with cigarettes to break Jersey's addiction to unhealthy fatty foods, a senior doctor at the General Hospital has warned.

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Neil MacLachlan says that tempting snacks and treats should not be placed near checkouts
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Neil MacLachlan says that tempting snacks and treats should not be placed near checkouts

THE marketing of chocolates and sweets may have to be restricted in line with cigarettes to break Jersey's addiction to unhealthy fatty foods, a senior doctor at the General Hospital has warned.

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Neil MacLachlan says that tempting snacks and treats should not be placed near checkouts or promoted in a way that targets children.

'It is not in the interests of anyone except those making a profit by marketing unhealthy foods in this way,' he said. 'I read an article about this in the New England Journal of Medicine and I was in town and everywhere I went there were mountains of rubbish sweets. It was ridiculous.'

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Comments for: "Tempting treats 'can be killers'"

Jerry Gosselin

Well it's nice to know Calvinism is still alive and well in the island. You would think they would be far too busy concentrating on the drink and drugs epidemic to worry about Kit Kat addicts!

R. Williams

Enough is enough.

The general public have had enough interference into their private lives. No more state control.

J Bean

Normally I would agree but I also object to subsidising the increasing number of overwieght people with health problems. Food labelling is rubbish (its all packed with sugar, including the so called "healthy" stuff) and the kids are all chubbier now as the food industry targets them. Here's to a good old "Bean Crock" (don't mention the Jersey wonders)!


I am not sure what's your problem the both of you, but The Doc is right.

If you knew the amount of crap you get in those sweets. Bad for your teeth and body.

Jelly beans are made from animal bones and god knows what the others are made of.

We are all brain washed with adverts and those supermarkets have intensive research on how to get the most of your wallet with different strategies.

We all know the reason why there are at checkout: superficial items targeting kids, and that is wrong.


Just Tax these things, the same as everythink else. Or tell people something that is ok to eat.


what about all the poisons that the doctors give out .


Spot on

Prescribed medicine is the second biggest killer in the USA.

Yet they push folk to take dangerous drugs that cause many more problems than the original complaint.

Gemma V

You can't compare Jersey with America in this instance. In America drugs are marketed in the media and people pressure their doctors to give them the drugs they've heard about. Of course there are also doctors on the books of the big pharmaceuticals, but then you can find out who they are if you try and you have the option to choose another doctor.

I have never experienced a doctor in Jersey pushing drugs on me, and if I felt they were I would stand up for myself.

Kram Lafar

Eh? Yeah you're right, they are always hanging around checkout queues pushing there so-called medicine at children aren't they. What can be done about the scourge of doctors preying on our kids!


When taxpayers have to pick up the bill for stupid habits there should be a tax charge.

I say tax fizzy drinks and chocolates like cigarettes

Gemma V

Lower the price first, then tax it up to its current price. I don't see why those of us that eat sensibly but enjoy the occasional treat should pay more for that treat.


Well at least they have not (yet) made chocolate illegal with a long stretch at La Moye – for our own good.


"If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law"

Winston Churchill

If they keep regulating stupid things like chocolate on top of constantly stopping anyone enjoying a drink or a smoke we will lose all respect for the law. You can see this is already happening with a lack of respect for police etc.


You know what - I'm over 18, pay my taxes and receive no handouts - stop telling me how to live my life and concentrate on things that are actually important!!!!!


something reasonably cheap that parents can afford for kids and you have to come along and spoil it.

The Co op are doing 2 for a tenner on tins of chocolates will this be classed as a happy hour.

Why not put a 50% tax on it

Simple Sid

He must be kidding, we wont be eating or drinking anything the way we are going, has he not got anything better to do.

I will check the calender maybe its the 1st April.

Simple Sid

Why do the JEP publish such rubbish.


Work can be a killer what are the authorities proposing to do about that?


They have already increased the welfare bill by a massive amount and give some nice handouts to public servants, you can even get paid for sitting in your cell, if you move in the right circles ( only a bit of fraud after all) !

I Pasdenom


Try here,


I've attached a link to the list of over 150 pieces of legislation currently in place; obviously the authorities may proposing more, but it's not like they're doing nothing.


Thank god my parents didn't throw a fuse when they caught me with a worm hanging out of the corner of my mouth,:-) If they had kept me squeaky clean I would have ended up prone to all illnesses, and that's the problem in this modern world; too many do gooders molly cuddling their off spring so as preventing the immune system from getting up to speed. ( The worm was a treat, we couldn't afford sweets and chocolates ). :-)


Slow news day methinks.

the thin wallet

the goverment of norway or some other scandinavian country taxed fatty food and guess what the people of that country , drove over the border to get it cheap.

enough is enough from the nanny state .

Tony B

Sweets were removed from alongside checkouts inEnglish supermarkets about 20 tears ago! (Now they are placed OPPOSITE the checkouts)


Sweets are still to be found alongside checkouts in many supermarkets in my area of England, ranging from what I would consider "low" to "high" market stores. So if there was guidance or a ruling, it doesn't seem to be working here.

Tony B

To be totally heathy, Don't eat anything, Don't drink anything and above all Don't breathe the air! Apparently the world shortage of Cococ is causing a mega rise in sweets, so market forces will determine the outcome. Sssh! Last one out turn off the lights!


Ah, so that's why the waiting lists at the hospital are so long, too many obese people eating 'rubbish sweets'.

Whether Kitkats etc are placed near the check-outs or not, children will always want them and get them. It's up to the parents to oversee what their own children eat. It's not rocket science is it!!!


Rocket science is that the parent will end up by the till one way or another. What is a kid going to do when you have a wall of sweets around you?

Parktown Prawn

This guy isn't even a nutritionist!!

He is an obstetrician and gynaecologist "consultant"!!

....and he "read an article" to make an "expert" announcement??

Who do these people think they are???

JEP.....typically sensationalist headline....a bit OTT don't you think!?


Can't deny that he did medicine though...

You don't have to have a degree to work that one out anyway.

If you think everybody is in good shape, good, I personally feel for some teens, knowing that they will be charged for 2 seats on the plane...


Putting sweets at the checkout should be outlawed. People are getting fat enough as it is. Do we really want another generation of walruses waddling around the place? The government has finally realised that todays eating habits will cost society dear long term.

The government can't afford to lose any of tomorrows workers as there aren't enough of them coming along on the production line as it is to run the society of tomorrow.

C Le Verdic

I'm not a nutritionist, obstetrician or gyneacologist, P.P., but I feel well enough qualified to judge for myself that confectionery is bad for my health and my wallet.

No one needs to be particularly well qualified to forward generally accepted wisdom on fairly indisputable issues.

Dark chocolate, in moderation, is said to be good for us, according to the dark chocolate industry.

Parktown Prawn

I agree Kermit, but it is down to personal choice again.....and it's about time we all stopped fussing over things like this.

If the sweets are near the checkout....so what?? You don't have to buy them if you have any self-discipline. As for targeting the kids, then the parents need to learn to control their offspring rather than be controlled by them in my opinion.

Maybe the supermarkets should put sweets behind a travelator?? Then you can burn your calories trying to get to the product...would that work for all the interfering know-it-alls?


Get a grip. Outlawed?

Your comments should be outlawed ;-)

You've changed your tune about workers....are these the same people you previously described as "anyone who has to work is in economic slavery.". Why the concern all of a sudden?


Yes, I'm sure most of us are aware of that fact, which is my point, we do not need some f*nny doctor telling us this! Plus he only decided to speak up because he read an american journal.....if that's all it takes to qualify you to make a public opinion on the matter then we must all be experts!


P.P. just stating the fact that there will soon be a shortage of workers and a glut of retired people.

If this generation has more who are obese then more will not complete their 50 plus years at the yoke of work. Others will fall ill required expensive care further draining dwindling resources.

As with shopping on Sunday you do not see the bigger picture prefering to have your choice regardless of the possible impact on others health and wellbeing. You are one of the igeneration and this has been a major contributor to the decline of society.

Parktown Prawn

Hardly Mario.....I am part of the working generation who makes our own way in this world because we do not get anything from our beloved government except more taxes and obstacles to our daily lives.

You my dear boy are a hypocrite. You condemn people who work hard because, according to you, they are wasting their lives ("anyone who has to work is in economic slavery.”) and then you bemoan the fact there are not enough workers!


Problem with parents is that a large amount can't say no. Some are soft, some are not bothered, some don't want to deal with the embarrassment of the screaming and rolling on the floor and so on...

And Yes, CLV, proper good chocolate is good for you (with moderation). Famous as an anti-depressor too.

I am not sure if someone ever tried a cream egg? I did once and that is the most disgusting chocolate I ever tried. The sugar level in one egg could kill a diabetic on the spot.

sugar bomb

He's right sheeple, you have no idea how much your decisions are manipulated when your shopping / watching tv / browsing the web / reading the news and unfortunately children are a soft target. Look at the USA for example

Some facts.


I Pasdenom

sugar bomb,

"He’s right sheeple, you have no idea how much your decisions are manipulated..."

Speak for yourself!

I have no problem in going about my shopping without 'manipulation', if somebody is to weak of will to make their own decisions then more fool them; and if their too weak of mind then should they really be allowed out alone un-supervised?


Unfortunately or fortunately depending on whether you are taking a capitalistic point of view, there are too many dummies around who don't think. This makes them easy targets for the marketing guys.


I knew that they would start on something else when they got bored with going on about smokers. The thing that are making the budget for the health service to rise is the price of going to the doctor (people will try and use A&E),grossly rising population,and to many & overpaid management those are the things.


Is this some kind of joke or has the JEP got no stories at the moment putting this on the front page.

I fully agree with the Sandpiper statement. It is down to the parents who allow their children to buy the confectionary. Sweets being sold at the till have been there since time in remembrance. You can't blame the obesity problems on supermarkets and shops for goodness sake

Fuly agree with 1 & 2 this is going onwards to a full stae control.


This is the top story? Come on guys it may be a quiet day but this is bad!

No axe to Grind

The medical profession (especially American)are just waking up to the recognition that they are largely responsible for the obesity epidemic, by wrongly blaming fat and not sugar (including refined carbohydrates) for the problem. "Fat reduced" foods are especially problematic, adding sugar which is basically poisonous and reducing fat which is non toxic and necessary for good health.

Notice even in this article the reporter used the word "fatty" to describe confectionary, which is nothing of the kind. Fatty is good; sugar is bad.

Anyone who tries to sell you sweets, biscuits, cakes etc is selling you products that are extremely harmful to your health.

Get used to that knowledge. You will hear much more about it.

Cut out sugar, eat as much fat as you like; you will lose weight and feel better. Your cholesteral levels will also improve.

Cat and Cal

Great idea. The guy is correct and an absolute hero in our eyes.

Cat and Cal


Bob Fleming

I agree with the majority of posters on here about not wanting to be dictated to about what we should or shouldn't eat/smoke, but I think that the Doctor's message comes from a genuine place (no self-inserted jokes please).

Our nutritional habits are now so ingrained in misinformation, that in the next century, studies suggest that diabetes will become the biggest killer in the World (not just in the Western hemisphere). Even the JEP (even?) has got their terminology wrong in the headline, as it's not "fatty" foods that are the enemy, but sugary foods. Even so called "health" foods that are marketed by weight-loss organisations as being zero fat are quite often stacked with sugar, which is why these multi-million pound generating companies have such poor weight loss records.

I could go into more nutritional detail, but I'm sure people are bored (or sceptical) already, so I'll leave it there.

St. Helier Resident

Haven't we heard this somewhere before? I'm sure I heard that supermarkets were removing sweets and chocolates from the checkout area some time ago!

Also, I may be mistaken, but are chocolate bars currently being sold at the hospital coffee shop? If so, then this seems to be rather contradictory!


We are not talking about banning sweets but avoiding to have them in your face every time you walk out of the shop.

Replace sweets with fruits and put sweets at the back of the shop.

If you stand at the till in the Snow hill Spar for example, you have sweets literally all around you.

Parktown Prawn


Back in the day....newsagents and small shops ALL had their sweets near the counter. There weren't as many obese kinds then as there are today.

Maybe you should be more concerned at the lack of exercise they do, staying indoors playing video games all day.....


Agreed, but Mac Donald, take-aways, fizzy drinks are more much more popular these days.

Judging by the latest fish and chips and burgers I unfortunately had to experience recently, the standards must have dropped. The amount of grease coming out of them put me of for life...


A shopkeeper I know says they have to be in full visibility of the check out assistant as they are one of the items most likely to be stolen. If they put them at the back of the shop the sticky fingered kids nick them all!

Pip Clement

Will Mr MacLachlan and his colleagues be examining the rate at which antidepressants, anxiolytics, hypnotics, antibiotics, etc are prescribed in the island?

It is a lot higher than the UK by some accounts but Jersey has a higher rate of private medicine so maybe the customer gets what they want?

I Pasdenom

I think trying to dictate what we buy by hiding stuff under the counter, and that's basically what is being proposed, is just stupid.

People should have the choice to make bad decisions, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't pay for them.

Taxing such luxuries as candy etc. is really the only fair way to allow people choice, and not expect people who make good decisions pay for the health services for those that don't.

Innocent bystander

I think the thing that is being missed here is not that sweets are unheathly.... though the refined sugars in them can cause some health problems.

But that sweets like everything else should be enjoyed in moderation and as part of a healthy diet, which includes Exercise.

So enjoy your twix or what ever treat you like, just remember that you need to run off some of that energy

God's Mentor

Very slow day for news/poor jornalism (you choose) when the lead story is this weak.

I love the line ‘I read an article about this in the New England Journal of Medicine' - just in case anyone was questioning the Doctor's credentials?

The Complainer

Well its better than drink or smoking. I eat a dairy milk bar at the end of the day as a treat. It hits the same spot as a cigarette. I'd rather see stressed workers nibble a chocolate bar. The temperance movement "Cadbury" suggested drinking chocolate as an alternative to gin that people might actually want to drink. I think chocolate is a better alternative. You really can't indulge yourself on carrots. Cromwell fell in England for a reason!!!! This puritanical statement is just soooo 1649!!!


Please stop telling me what to eat. There is enough tax already. If you want to stop obesity..tax fat people...I am neither overweight or unhealthy..So leave me alone..


Neil's a genius. Shame more tham half our diet is bad for you.

And whatever happened to natural selection? IMO we should let the fatties kill themselves off.


We agree with Cat and Cal, but Cal can have the winnings.



Bandiera Rossa

Save time - ban everything !

Adios Companeros

Gemma V

It's fairly simple really, there are two options that can be targeted at the whole of society...

1) Tax these items more and tighten the regulations on selling them.

2) Put a charge on any medical care required that is related in anyway to the patient's obesity.

I prefer the latter option, and would apply the same where smoking, drug abuse or alcohol abuse were concerned. But it's unlikely ever to happen in a society that looks to the Government to fix all its problems.

Alternatively we could step in and take a hard line on parents who are allowing their children to become obese, it is abuse and should be treated as such.

John of St Peter

It is totally unfair that I have to pay for FAT people. Type 2 diabtes, joints wearing out too early (hips and knees)........the list is endless.

All due to the fact that they have no self control. What should happen is everybody who is morbidly obese (over a certain BMI) should pay DOUBLE the social security rate. (Perhaps it should be triple....what ever the costs are ........a user pays policy).

Decent people can have the odd treat. Fat people don't should not expect me to pay for your unhealty choices!

Parktown Prawn


You cannot just target overweight people....there are many other areas where all kinds of people are reckless or have no self control.

You must include drug users, alcoholics/binge drinkers, violent people, irresponsible drivers, sporty people.......basically, anybody who can cause or receive injury/illness by their very own actions.


You don't have to be obese to get diabetes or have bad joints!!

What I find unfair is paying for state education with my taxes because it clearly does not help some people!


Simple Sid

This island has people with drink and drugs problems and even more important we have a very serious Radon issue and here we have a top consultant worrying about sweets! I cannot believe this made JEP headlines.

Worried Parent

Perhaps Mr MacLachlan could address the issue of the growing number of parents who are failing to have their children vaccinated against various diseases because they have all become experts on the subject from reading bits and bobs on the internet.This I fear is far more worrying than sweets near the checkout.


I don't see why you're worried; presumably, you have slavishly followed the advice and had your own children innoculated.

Why, therefore, do you concern yourself with the private family affairs of other people? I find that kind of busybodying more worrying than confectionary.

Worried Parent

Did I touch a nerve Janet? NOT having your child vaccinated COULD -if enough people don't bother-result in outbreaks of diseases which have previously been almost eradicated.These diseases would particularly affect unvaccinated children as happened to a family I know.If that is busybodying then I am at a loss to know what to say-better not to care I suppose.


No, you didn't touch a nerve, but it seems that I did. The problem is that nobody, myself included, likes a busybody. It's as simple as that!


@ "Worried Parent"- strange though it may seem, educated lay persons often do know better than doctors.

The medical profession is conservative and its practitioners often follow medical fashions, either due to intellectual weakness or from fear of differing with the views of those who promulgate the trends of medicine. Often, the drug companies exercise an unhealthy influence upon the matter.

A general practitioner seldom possesses any depth of knowledge about one medical subject and I would imagine that very few would be fully aware of the implications, long term or otherwise, of many of the vaccines which parents are emotionally blackmailed to take up.

Many have been the times when the "received wisdom" of the doctors has proved to be incorrect. Many, sadly, have been the times when the health of our children has suffered.

I think that we should celebrate the close of paternalistic medicine and welcome the new era of freedom of informed choice, rather than inciting through this column some kind of enforced treatment.

That, of course, had its place but it was elsewhere in europe and it took place about seventy years ago.

busy antibody

Hang on a minute Janet. Didn't you introduce the busybody element with your unwarranted sarcastic comment to Worried Parent, who showed very laudable concern over the easily lost control of hitherto epedemic diseases?

Your family affairs will hardly remain private if your unprotected kids start spreading their illnesses around. Think about it.

Oh, and mind how you walk out from behind confectionary (sic) vehicles!


It wasn't a sarcastic comment. The point made was made entirely openly and the message within was direct.

The aspect of sarcasm was not required, although it is notable that the response was itself weakened in so far as it opened with a sracstic remark.

donald pond

Sugar is extremely addictive and bad for your health. Indeed, recent books (e.g. Pure, White and Deadly) make the case that sugar is the most dangerous substance in our everyday lives. While some can use it without danger, for a substantial minority (if not majority) it leads to obesity, compulsive behaviour and long term health problems.

Now, can someone explain to me why it should be treated any differently to alcohol, tobacco or any illegal drug?

Surely the grown up approach with all substances is to legalise everything, and to tax and regulate it appropriately. Or have we given up with being grown up?

Eternal waiting list

I'd have thought that the "tempting treats of private medical fees" puts the public at rather more risk than the odd mars bar.

Parktown Prawn

I think Thornton's and all other confectionists will have an argument there doctor.

Where do you suppose they should hide all of their merchandise??

These shops have been around for hundreds of years....the difference?.......people are a lot softer (in the head mainly) now than they were back then ;-)

Keep your nose out and concentrate on your own job!


People today are a lot more selfish and greedy, couple this with dumming down and you have a recipe for disaster. White sugar is not good for you Google it and see for yourself.

Are you concentrating on working hard at work on a Sunday so that you can shop on days 1-6 so as to allow others to spend time with their family on Sunday? This is what is called consideration.

I Pasdenom


Your post (2nd para especially) is confusing, you're clearly arguing and angry with someone, just not sure who and or why it's relevant!?

Parktown Prawn,

Considering his job, I hope he is keeping his nose out!

Parktown Prawn


Your whole comment is actually irrelevant to my post in my opinion.

No need to Google about white sugar thank you....I'll leave that to the unintelligent people.....what did you use? Wikipedia?

Your last paragraph does not make any sense at all.....next time you use Google, try looking up "how to string a sentence together" ;-)

While you're at it, look up the word consideration.....you clearly have no idea what it means and in what context to use it.


Do you mean like expecting others to be forced to come in, to enable you to shop on Sunday? If you call this consideration then you need to use a dictionary.

Just pointing out if you worked on a Sunday you would then be able to shop on a work day thus helping others who may not want to come in to work, because of people like you, the Sunday off to spend with their family.

Must be getting tetchy if you have to resort to the punctuation milarky.


Let natural selection take control, all the thick people will die soon, and those that are not so easily lead will thrive. Take a look around town and you will see the walking ( or is that waddling)soon to be dead.


The great great majority of people now fully realise that which is harmful to eat and that which is healthy, it is all down to self-discipline, not that easy to apply at times.

Tax the sweets some say, do they mean a tax on a tax, we pay GST as is?


Has Mr McLachlan just arrived on planet earth or something because mountains of sweets next to checkouts have been the norm for decades and most people have the willpower to avoid them.


I'll just stick with the first post here. Will these intrusive, sanctimonious {insert expletive] people stop telling us what to do and how to live? I can just about cope [with humour] about a certain not-slim person telling us we shouldn't own "gas guzzling 4x4s" every week in the JEP. Now we have this man lecturing us all about sweeties. Perhaps he should have a word in the ear of his not-slim Minister?


Candy cigarettes are the worst.

Tax imported confectionary which could serve to promote a local industry and maybe lead to a world class one. What's the worst that could happen?

John of St Peter

I agree tax fat people. They have no self control but people like to pussy foot around and pretend it is the "genes" or a "thyroid" problem.

They have obviously not heard of the third law of thermodynamics = energy cannot be created or destroyed (or something like that??) If you are fat you (a) either eat too much or (b) don't do enough excercise (or both).

Have a much higher rate of Social Security for people with a obese BMI (on a sliding scale). That will pay for your type 2 diabetes, new joints and ill health. (Exemptions of course for those genuinely disabled etc but no exemptions for people who just eat too much)

david marquis

Bring back another occupation for the next five years,that will solve all the previous problems!!!!

C Le Verdic

Further austerity and recession will certainly help more people get a grip on reality.

I am not particularly relishing a return to 'growth' and the fools' paradise which accompanies it. Look where that got us.