I don't know whether eating too much foie gras can make you lily-livered, but the FSA fat cats are showing every sign of capitulating to all parties over their wretched traffic-light system.

FSA nanny-in-chief Tim Smith could hardly contain his glee when I ran into him at a Turps'n'Twizzlers lunchtime reception this week.

There's no love lost between Timbo and his predecessor, the incrementally barking Deirdre Hutton, a fact the Pumster attributes to the huge variety of unhinged schemes in Smithy's in-tray when he took office.

From what I could gather, Timmy is ditching traffic lights in favour of a bugger's muddle of all the other systems including traffic lights. This, he sniggered, was "in response to consumer feedback".

Well I can only assume the consumer was a drunken, colour-blind masochist with a degree in applied mathematics, since it now appears those unfortunates who do not have the wholly necessary ministerial personal shopper will now be confronted with food packaging consisting solely of various types of statutory label.
Praise be! Where once we were faced with the choice between peach or butterscotch Angel Delight for pud, we must now analyse our purchases' relative merits on the grounds of GDAs of calories, fat, sugar, salt, nut content, fibre, sulphites, carbon footprint, country of origin, packaging materials, potential for recycling, freezability, storage instructions and sexual orientation.

Oh and, er, price. And all this in a migraine-inducing shock of colour that makes the sleeve of Sgt Pepper's look dowdy. That's consumer choice for you.

Needless to say, El Tel was ecstatic - Tesco has jumped the traffic lights ever since they were launched, probably on the grounds that if we knew what was in a Value lasagne it would be banned by the Hague Convention.

And as for King Justin, great champion of the coloured blobs, he was spitting feathers. That's green for the breast and wings but amber for the beak and claws, KJ.

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