The government has decided that the best way to stop us from swelling up like Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is to put coloured dots on our food. Given some of Cherie Blair's more outside-the-box companions, you might think that this was a matter of feng shui, ensuring that your fridge didn't endanger your inner calm. But no. Red, yellow and green dots could soon be brightening up your local supermarket, being added to labels already full of nutritional information, to try and stop us becoming obese. 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away'. 'A little of what you fancy'. Too complex for us it seems. This is another example of a government for whom the media is the message. One would think that the best way to educate people about a balanced diet would be in schools, where the reasons behind the dots can be taught. But for a government whose idea of educating is to make an advert, it is no great surprise that it would rather make sure it's being seen to act, rather than educating in schools, where no one can applaud its actions. So it's a 'do as we say' policy as far as obesity goes. We are not to be told why calcium-rich cheese will carry a warning light; it should be enough just for us to be told. Thank goodness that responsibility has been taken from us, the government must want to stop us being weighed down in more ways than one. According to the Food Standards Agency, the public is eager to have these simple colours alongside the current fat and salt information in supermarkets, but baulked at having it put on menus in restaurants and pubs. Those surveyed by the FSA said that eating out was a treat and would be spoiled by warning messages. At first glance this is good news for those involved in the eating out industry. Chefs fond of butter and chains fond of perking up mass-produced meals with salt could have faced some tricky new menu decisions. Customers could have also seen their palates go untickled. However, the traffic light solution is intended to educate and, although menus have escaped, the government hopes that people will use their new knowledge throughout their eating lives, tucking in to salads instead of Sunday roasts. Restaurants should also beware that, just because they look set to avoid having their menus brightened up this time round, it may not last. Once upon a time the government thought that putting warnings on cigarette packets would be enough to cut smoking. Now they are banning it in most pubs and all restaurants, in the process creating a new breed of smoking dens. Using that model, the next great movement in eating out could be the greasy spoon speakeasy.