Facebook provided me with a good rant target today. There is an article here about how the EU has banned water distributors from telling people that water can stop you from being dehydrated. There is the typical shock and outrage combined with a heaping helping of anti government sentiment and who could argue with them? Can you really condone the government telling us that water isn't useful for preventing dehydration? The editorial slant of the news source in question is easy to divine as all you need to do is read a couple of comments to find the firm belief that this is the bureaucracy trying to use science to implement their socialist agenda just as with global warming. Of course, that isn't the real story. The story is actually that bottled water manufacturers want to put the phrase
“Regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration and of concomitant decrease of performance.”
on their bottles and want the EU regulatory body to rubber stamp this as an official health claim. To do this they had to prove that dehydration was a disease and that their product was an effective way to combat it; the scientists debating their claim decided that consumers probably didn't need to be informed of the ability of bottled water to combat dehydration.
It boggles my mind to read this stuff. The only possible reason for anybody wanting to put 'this product prevents dehydration' on a bottle of water is to bamboozle some foolish or uninformed person into thinking that only bottled water can do this or that perhaps dehydration is some other kind of disease that isn't trivially preventable. Governments *should* tell people that want to put bogus crap like this on products to shove it. Talk about the mountain glittery coldness of it all you like but if you want the government stamp of approval for a legitimate health claim you should actually be addressing a freaking health issue!
Of course all you end up seeing is the sound byte on Facebook and everybody gets all up in arms about government interference and scientists saying crazy things.
Government: You can't claim that dehydration is a disease that your bottled water prevents, that is ridiculous!
Internet: The government thinks that there is no link between water and dehydration!