This UK Telegraph report combines the wisdom of government bureaucrats with the sophisticated, pro-science of our enlightened European friends. It is not satire:
Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration. EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact. Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month. Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.
The Department for Health disputed the wisdom of the new law. A spokesman said: “Of course water hydrates. While we support the EU in preventing false claims about products, we need to exercise common sense as far as possible." German professors Dr Andreas Hahn and Dr Moritz Hagenmeyer, who advise food manufacturers on how to advertise their products, asked the European Commission if the claim could be made on labels.
They compiled what they assumed was an uncontroversial statement in order to test new laws which allow products to claim they can reduce the risk of disease, subject to EU approval. They applied for the right to state that “regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration” as well as preventing a decrease in performance. However, last February, the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) refused to approve the statement. A meeting of 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, concluded that reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.
This idiocy may even be dumber than a previous action by EU pencil-pushers:
EU regulations, which aim to uphold food standards across member states, are frequently criticised. Rules banning bent bananas and curved cucumbers were scrapped in 2008 after causing international ridicule.
One Member of the European Parliament tees off:
Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall said the ruling made the “bendy banana law” look “positively sane.” He said: “I had to read this four or five times before I believed it. It is a perfect example of what Brussels does best. Spend three years, with 20 separate pieces of correspondence before summoning 21 professors to Parma where they decide with great solemnity that drinking water cannot be sold as a way to combat dehydration. Then they make this judgment law and make it clear that if anybody dares sell water claiming that it is effective against dehydration they could get into serious legal bother."
My colleague Kate Hicks makes a good point: The Eurozone is melting down, and this is what EU leadership can agree on? No wonder they're screwed.