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3英语阅读-经济学人《Economics》双语版-Food firms and fat-fighters

(2):食品公司与减肥斗士

【翻译交流】

Feb 9th 2006

From The Economist Global Agenda

Food firms and fat-fighters

食品公司与减肥斗士

Five leading food companies have introduced a labelling scheme for their products in the British market, in an attempt to assuage critics who say they encourage obesity. But consumer groups are unhappy all the same. Is the food industry, like tobacco before it, about to be *engulfed[1]by a wave of lawsuits brought on health grounds?

五家业内领先的食品公司采取了一项方案,就是在其投入英国市场的食品上作出标注,力图堵住那些说他们鼓励肥胖的批评人士的嘴。不过,消费者团体仍然不开心。食品业会像之前的烟草一样,被卷入一场关乎健康的诉讼之中吗?

KEEPING fit requires a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise. On the second of these at least, the world’s food companies can claim to be setting a good example :they have been working up quite a sweat in their attempts to fend off assaults by governments, consumer groups and lawyers who accuse them of peddling products that encourage obesity. This week saw the unveiling of another industry initiative :five leading food producers—Danone, Kellogg, Nestlé, Kraft and PepsiCo—introduced a labelling scheme for the British market which will show “guideline daily amounts”for calories, fats, sugar and salt on packaging. The new labels will start to appear on the firms’ crisps, chocolate bars, cheese slices *and the like[2] over the next few months. A number of other food giants, such as Cadbury Schweppes and Masterfoods, have already started putting guideline labels on their products.

将健康的饮食习惯和经常性的锻炼二者结合才可以让身体保持健康。至少就第二点而言,全球的食品公司可以说是树立了一个很好的典范:为了避开政府、消费者团体以及律师们的抨击——指责食品公司四处兜售促进肥胖的产品,他们已经累得大汗淋漓了。本周,食品业的另一举措也公诸于世:五家业内领先的食品厂商——Danone, Kellogg, Nestlé, Kraft以及PepsiCo——在英国市场实施了一项商品标注计划,即在包装上标明卡路里(热量)、脂肪、糖和盐的“每日摄入量指南”。在接下来的几个月里,这些食品公司的土豆条、巧克力棒、干酪片等等包装上将开始出现这类新标注。其它许多食品业巨头如Cadbury Schweppes 和Masterfoods也已经着手在其产品上加入指导性标记。

The food companies say doing this will empower consumers, allowing them to make informed decisions about which foods are healthy. (1)But consumer groups have cried foul. They point out that the Food Standards Agency, a government watchdog, is due to recommend a different type of labelling scheme next month :a “traffic light” system using colours to tell consumer s whether products have low, medium or high levels of fat, salt and the like. The food firms, they say, have rushed to introduce their own, fuzzier guidelines first in a cynical attempt to undermine the government’s plan—which they fear might hurt their sales. In consumer tests, the traffic light performed better than rival labelling schemes.

这些食品公司说,这么做可以让消费者在确定何种食品为健康食品时心知肚明。但是消费者团体大声疾呼食品公司此举纯属犯规,他们指出,作为政府监督机构,食品标准局应该在下个月推出一项不同的标注措施——“红绿灯”方法,亦即应用不同颜色,提醒消费者食品的脂肪、糖、盐分等含量是低、中等还是高。

他们说,食品公司突然率先采用他们自定的那些模糊指南,是对政府计划的恣意破坏,他们害怕政府的计划会让他们的产品卖不出去。对消费者进行调查后显示,“红绿灯”方法比食品公司的标注方案效果要好。

Nevertheless, the food companies argue that the traffic-light system is too simplistic and likely to scare people away from certain products that are fine if consumed in moderation, or in conjunction with plenty of exercise—which most observers, including the medical profession, agree is crucial for anyone wanting to stay in shape. They also point out that they have competitors to worry about—namely the big supermarket chains with their own-label products. Last April, Tesco, the biggest of these, announced that it was rejecting the traffic-light system in favour of a less stark “signposting” approach. Its rivals fear that adopting colour-coding could put them at a competitive disadvantage.

然而,食品公司辩称,“红绿灯”方法过于简单,某些产品会因此吓跑消费者,而这些产品如果食用适量或者结合充分锻炼,对人都是十分有益的,而且包括医学专家在内的大多数观察人士都认为,这些食品对于任何想要保持好体形的人而言都至关重要。同时,他们还指出,他们要顾及一些竞争者,也就是那些对产品加上各自标注的大型超市连锁店的做法。去年四月,最大一家超市连锁店Tesco宣布,他们反对采用“红绿灯”方法,取而代之的是一种更为灵活的“路标”法。因此,食品公司担心,若采用颜色编码(也就是红绿灯法),会令他们在竞争中处于劣势。

Bet ter labelling has become an important weapon of the food giants’ armoury as they fight back against their critics. In October 2005 McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast-food company, said it would start printing nutritional facts on the packaging of its burgers and fries, including the fat, salt, calorie and carbohydrate content. Before that, information about (2)big-sellers such as the Big Mac, which contains 30g of fat, could only be found on the firm’s website or in leaflets.

在食品业巨头们回击批评意见的过程中,更好的标注方式已经成为他们“武器库”中的一个“杀手锏”。2005年10月1日,世界最大快餐公司麦当劳称,公司将在汉堡包和炸薯条包装上印上营养常识,包括脂肪、盐分、热量以及碳水化合物含量。此前,人们只能从食品公司的网站或宣传品上看到一些销路好的食品有关信息,比如含有30克脂肪的Big Mac。

But labelling is not enough; the food firms know they must also offer healthier fare. McDonald's has introduced salads and fruit to its menus. Kraft and others have brought out low-carbohydrate ranges. Last year, McDonald’s even announced a sporty makeover for Ronald McDonald, its mascot clown, in a bid to encourage children to be more active. But some in the industry suspect that consumers are keener on seeing (3)lighter, healthier meals on the menu than they are on actually buying and eating them; such products are not what the industry calls “(4)business builders”. That said, some of Nestlé’s more nutritional products, like its PowerBar range for athletes, enjoy higher margins and growth than its traditional fare.

不过,标注还不够;食品公司清楚,他们还必须生产出更加健康的食品。麦当劳公司已将沙拉和水果引入了它的点餐单之中,Kraft跟其它公司也制造出了一系列低碳水化合物食品。去年,麦当劳甚至还宣布要对它的小丑吉祥物——麦当劳叔叔进行翻新改造,使其具有运动型外表,以鼓励孩子们更为活泼。但是某些业内人士对此提出质疑,认为消费者更渴望在点餐单上看到不加色素、比较健康的膳食,而不会真地去买来吃;这类食品并非是产业中所谓的“商业增洁剂”。这么说来,雀巢公司生产的某些更富营养的食品,比如运动员专用的PowerBar系列,要比其传统食品能带来更高的利润及增长。

Wobbling all over the world

全球食品业正经受震荡

The pressure on the industry is most acute in America, which leads the world in obesity. The proportion of Americans characterised as overweight has risen steadily from 47% ((5)bad enough in itself) in the late 1970s to around two-thirds, including over 30% who are clinically obese. Fast-food chains’ American sales grew from about $6 billion in 1970 to an estimated $134 billion in 2005. Eric Schlosser, author of “Fast Food Nation”, an influential book attacking the industry, has pointed out that Americans spend more on fast food than they do on higher education, PCs or new cars—worrying, when a single meal at a KFC of less than a pound-weight of food plus a large Pepsi can top 1,600 calories, not far short of the daily intake recommended by the government for adults doing only “light physical activity”.

肥胖人数居世界首位的美国食品业承受的压力最大。上世纪70年代末期,美国人中超重人口所占比例从47%(这个数字本身已经糟糕透了)逐步增长到大约三分之二,其中包括30%以上临床肥胖症患者,而美国快餐连锁店的销售额则从1970年的60亿美元增加到2005年的大约1340亿美元。旨在抨击快餐业、颇具影响力的《快餐国度》一书作者埃里克?施罗瑟曾指出,美国人吃快餐花的钱要比花在高等教育、个人电脑或者买新汽车上的钱多。令他感到担忧的是,在肯德基快餐店光吃一顿不到一磅重的餐点,再喝一大杯百事可乐,摄入热量就可能超过1600卡路里,这比美国政府为仅从事“轻度体力活动”的成人所推荐的每日摄取量并不低多少。(言下之意,一餐就摄取如此多热量,况乎一日三餐?)

(6)Where the United States leads, others are following. In the European Union, up to 27% of men are considered to be obese, and almost a quarter of all children are deemed overweight. Britain, with its love of burgers and packaged meals, is seen as following closest on America’s heels, but the rate of obesity has started to swell on the continent too. Some 11% of the adult population of France were obese in 2003, up from 8% in 1997 (the actual level may be higher still since the figures are based on polls asking people if they are fat, and (7)self-reporting produces underestimates). France has *latched on to[3] the fast-food culture :it is one of the biggest and most profitable European markets for McDonald’s.

凡是有美国带头的地方,别国都会亦步亦趋。在欧盟国家,高达27%的男性被认为患有肥胖症,几乎四分之一的儿童则被认为体重超常。爱吃汉堡包和打包食物的英国被看作是跟美国最贴近的“跟屁虫”,不过其“肥胖队伍”同样开始日益壮大。在法国,成人患肥胖症的比率从1997年的8%一下子增加到2003年的11%(由于统计数主要基于问卷调查,因此实际水平可能更高——自己说自己的情况往往导致低估实际水平嘛)。法国已经领悟了快餐文化的真谛:它就是麦当劳公司在欧洲最大、最赚钱的市场之一。

No wonder, then, that the past few years have been bad for food companies (8)in image terms—and terrible for the fast-food lot. Attacks on the industry have changed the psychological climate in which it operates, and they may yet change the legislative climate too. So far, lawsuits brought on health-and-safety grounds have been more of a warning than a general threat. In 2003 a New York judge dismissed a lawsuit claiming that McDonald’s had misled customers into believing that its food was healthy (though the suit was later partially reinstated). A number of American states have passed “common-sense consumption laws” aimed at deterring obesity cases in local courts.

那么,过去这几年食品公司的日子不太好过,而快餐业就更加糟糕。对食品业的抨击,已经带来了人们消费心理上的变化,或许也还将改变立法。迄今为止,基于健康安全的诉讼更多的是一种警醒,而没有对食品业形成真正的威胁。2003年,纽约一名法官驳回了一项诉讼,该诉讼声称麦当劳公司误导了消费者,让他们相信其食品是健康的(尽管该诉讼后来又受到部分复议)。美国一些州还通过了《消费常识法》,旨在让地方法庭拒绝受理肥胖诉讼案例。

Nevertheless, some lawyers still see a similarity between the position of food companies now and that of tobacco companies in the 1960s and 1970s, when private lawsuits paved the way for a co-ordinated

attack on “big tobacco” by attorneys-general. Worries about rising obesity rates among children, and fear of subsequent legal actions, have caused companies to (9)scale back their marketing of fatty food and soft drinks to minors.

不过,有的律师仍然察觉到目前食品公司的处境与上世纪六、七十年代时的烟草公司有一定的相似之处。当时,众多个人诉讼为后来各州首席检察官针对“烟草业巨头”发动“协同攻击”铺平了道路。各家食品公司关注到儿童肥胖比例正日益增长,并担心被起诉,已经开始逐步缩减针对未成年人的高脂食品和软饮料的销售。

In several countries, government pronouncements and actions have added to the pressure on the industry. The British government’s push to introduce traffic-light labelling comes in the wake of a hard-hitting report from the House of Commons Health Select Committee, whose chairman said :“The devastating consequences of the epidemic of obesity are likely to have a profound impact over the next century.” In France, a law has been passed to impose a 1.5% tax on the advertising budgets of food companies if they do not encourage healthy eating. The industry may claim, with some justification, that ultimate responsibility for bad diet *rests with[4] the individual, and that the amount of exercise you do is just as important as the amount of food you eat. But as long as governments, lawyers and health campaigners continue to pile on the pressure, it will have to work hard to convince them it is (10)doing its bit to stop people piling on the pounds.

有几个国家政府已经发布有关声明并采取了一些举措,这让食品业感到压力倍增。英国国会下院健康特别委员会一份掷地有声的报告,迫使英国政府开始全力引入“红绿灯”标识方案。该委员会主席说:“肥胖症的流行所引发的破坏性后果很可能会对下个世纪产生深远影响。”法国也已通过一项法律,拟对不宣扬健康饮食的食品公司征收1.5%的广告预算税。食品业也许会略显理直气壮地申辩,不良饮食的根本责任应由消费者个人承担,每个人的运动量同进食多少同样重要。不过,只要政府、律师以及健康饮食倡议人士不停止施压,食品业就必须努力让他们确信,为了不让人们变得越来越胖,它正在尽自己的一份绵薄之力。

注释:

[1]engulf :席卷、吞没、吞噬

[2]and the like :等等,诸如此类

[3]latch on to :明白,了解。latch的本义为“抓住,占有,插上插销”。

[4]rest with :在于,归属于,取决于

抛砖引玉:

(1)本句中cried foul应该如何翻译合适?这句话笔者译为“大声疾呼食品公司此举纯属犯规”妥当否?难道这里cry foul就是比赛场上裁判“喊犯规叫停”?

(2)big-sellers中的seller是销售商还是销售商品?big是指大型的还是销路好的或者其它?

(3)light在这个句子里的意思不应该是“轻的”吧?我猜想应该是“原色的,基色的,浅色的”,您认为呢?(4)builder是“建造者”还是“增洁剂”?比较专业,请指教。

(5)我思来想去,也找不出比“这个数字本身就已经糟糕透顶”更好的译法了,或许还真有更好的?(6)Come on, guys! 谁能把这句翻译更为贴切、更为通达呢?

(7)越译越晕,我心里明白这个self-reporting的意思,可是到底怎么表达出来才准确呢?

(8)in image terms,啥意思?我就不抛砖了,免得砸着自己,呵呵!

(9)scale up按比例增加;scale down按比例缩减,那么scale back呢?我想,应该跟scale down 差不多吧?

(10)do one’s bits 我在词典上没有查到相应的短语,不过“bit”一词本身是“少许”之意,我想译为“尽……

绵薄之力”应当不坏,您看呢?