Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris Slams Deceptive Food Labelling

Understanding The Complexities Of Wording On Your Food Packaging

Chuck Norris has recently turned his attention to a matter that concerns all consumers – deciphering the truth behind the language of food labelling.

In the US, a shocking 130 billion pounds in weight of food gets thrown away each year. In a survey conducted by SSRS, it was discovered that 70% of people discard food because it is past its expiry date. Furthermore, this percentage of consumers consigned their expired produce to the garbage because they believed that eating it beyond the specified date would result in them becoming unwell.

The Purpose Of Expiration Dates

However, in a recent blog post, Chuck Norris explains that this is not the case. Foods don’t expire as such, instead they begin to lose their freshness and flavour after a certain period of time has elapsed. Therefore, brands choose to put expiration dates on their food labels in order to preserve the reputation of the produce and to ensure that consumers come back for more. Foods may certainly taste unpleasant after they’ve ‘gone off’, but it would be extremely unlikely that they could put a person’s health at risk.

Banning Expiration Dates

The laws regarding food labelling in the US are somewhat confusing. Some states have laws that insist on expiry dates being placed on meat and milk products. However, this isn’t officially required by federal law. Therefore, various authorities in the US food industry, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute are calling upon companies to scrap this labelling method and instead use phrases such as ‘Best if used by’ or simply, ‘Use by’.

These suggested labels are similar to those used in the UK. Our Food Standards Agency explains that the ‘Best before date’ refers to the quality of the food, meaning that its freshness and texture should be preserved up until this date. In comparison, a ‘Use by’ date in the UK, is not a suggestion but a safety precaution. You can also freeze food up until the ‘Use by’ date, which acts as a pause button when safely storing produce to be eaten at a later date.

Natural Foods

The use of language on food labels is also being scrutinised on both sides of the pond, particularly when it comes to the issue of supposedly ‘natural’ foods. What constitutes a natural product? Is it actually completely free from preservatives? The US Food and Drug Administration states that it does not object to “the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.”  However, as the authority fails to formally identify the term, this means that it is not affected by law and can be found on food labels which haven’t officially had their produce verified.  In the UK, a two-year report carried out by the Food Advisory Committee found that 75% of consumers found food labels which used wording such as natural, pure, traditional, authentic and even farmhouse, to be misleading.

With this information in mind, people will likely be even more confused than before. As well as checking their food labels, consumers may start having to conduct their own Internet research to find out exactly what is going into their shopping trolleys each week!

Robot carer

Robots May Provide Cheaper Care, But Without the Human Touch

There is Still Room for Live in Care Despite Advances in Technology

The news that robots will soon be able to care for the elderly was met with excitement – but there’s only so much they can do.

Rarely a day goes by without the way we provide care for the infirm and elderly being in the news. With an ageing population and a shortage of social care, there are worries that we’re heading for a real crisis and simply won’t be able to cope. So it’s only natural that we’re looking for solutions – even turning to robotics. A recent article predicted that in just a few years we will be relying on robots to care for the elderly. Would they really be able to care for people in the same way as a human would though, or are there some things that a robot just can’t do?

Advances in robotics

The news that we could soon deploy robots to look after the elderly came at a press conference in Tokyo. The head of the Toyota Research Institute, one of the world’s leading authorities on robotic development, announced that they were building models that could help to care for older people. The robots would be able to carry out a variety of tasks, and would be able to safely handle people that are very frail. It’s worth mentioning that there have been no demonstrations of these robots in action yet, but Toyota are known for their cutting edge technology. If they’re talking about their work this confidently to journalists, it can’t be too long until we get a glimpse of these machines.

The personal touch

For all of their sophistication and delicacy though, can a robot care for a person in the same way that a carer would? Toyota insist that they’re building robots that can think as well as carry out tasks – similar to an autonomous car. While it’s clear that robots would be a massive help with manual tasks such as lifting someone in and out of the bath or helping them to prepare food, they simply cannot provide the personal touch that professionals from live in care agencies can. Robots cannot detect subtle changes in emotion or show empathy and understanding. To put it simply, they aren’t capable of understanding human behaviour yet. They also cannot provide conversation and companionship, which is something that many older people really need, especially if they are isolated.

The best of both worlds

So where do we go from here? It’s clear that there’s an appetite for robots that can help around the home. After all, we’re now buying things like robotic vacuum cleaners that seemed unimaginable a couple of decades ago. That’s where robots can be a real help to the elderly – assisting them with everyday tasks so that they can live in their own homes for longer. Providing hands on, empathic care? That might be some way off yet. Combining the care that humans can give and the assistance that robots can give with manual tasks could be a good option for the future. Like we said though, we’re a way off of that yet.

Live in care is still the best option

We’re not yet at the stage where robots are regular presences in the home, so elderly people still struggle with everyday tasks such as getting dressed, cleaning and just keeping themselves and their homes in good condition. If you’ve got a relative who is struggling to keep on top of things, then a live in carer may be an option. While they don’t have robot assistants just yet, they’re the best way for elderly people to maintain their independence for as long as possible.

Airport transfers

Business Trip Planning Without a PA?

How to effectively organise a smooth running business trip yourself

In business, time is money, so arranging a business trip that makes the most of time spent away from base needs careful planning and foresight. If you don’t have the services of a dedicated PA, then there are effective ways to plan and organise a trip without it taking too much time. There’s also outside help you can draw on if required.

Even a one day business trip out of the office attending meetings or functions in another city would require some organising. For example, a trip from Edinburgh to London might involve flight bookings, car hire or being met by a dedicated driver – so you’d need the services of a suitable London chauffeur car hire company, and maybe a hotel reservation if it’s a late finish.


A basic foundation for planning the trip, it’s important to map out activities during the time away.

What meetings or events are planned and whereabouts they’re taking place are the two basics to establish. This will influence what travel arrangements are required such as flights, airport transfers and possible onward travel and the return arrangements.

Where to book accommodation (obviously within easy reach of meeting venues and so forth) is a key consideration as are hotel facilities. For example, will you be hosting a meeting with a contact or client? If so, maybe you’ll need a hotel with basic conference facilities. Good wi-fi or even an Ethernet connection might be required if receiving or sending large documents during your stay.


Very important of course; along with hotel wi-fi and maybe Ethernet, what about mobile phone? Maybe your existing contract requires amending or changing to use it abroad without racking up excessive fees.

Travel planning

You’ll likely have to book at least some of the following; flights, car hire, train, airport transfer and perhaps a chauffeur driven car if you need flexible transportation while you’re away.

Make a list of your travel needs by ‘tracking’ your movements from initial travel to the city or country concerned and your movements thereafter.

Check times – once you’ve booked flights, keep tabs on the latest information as flight and check in times can vary between booking and the day of travel. Don’t risk missing a flight, being left stranded, or having to wait for long periods in an airport to board a flight that was previously put back several hours.

Airport lounge or hotel – you may be heading for your first meeting soon after landing, so access to an airport lounge or nearby hotel even if staying for a mere few hours could be worthwhile to ensure you’re rested and fresh after a flight.

Refundable tickets – purchase refundable tickets if possible as your plans may alter. Perhaps a meeting is rescheduled or you find you need to be there a day earlier than planned? Planning ahead like this will save money on abandoned travel purchases.

Regulations in countries being visited

Ensure you know the rules and regulations for where you’re headed. Do you need a visa or inoculations? Could certain customs trip you up? For example, in countries with strict alcohol laws you could be held up at the airport in Dubai for something as innocent as bringing in a box of chocolate liqueurs, so check what can and can’t be brought in through customs.


Find out what the weather will typically be like when you travel. For example, New York in the summer can be very warm yet for a business trip in December or January it can be extremely cold with snow and ice common.

Balancing practicalities with appropriate business attire is obviously important, but don’t be stuck with the wrong clothing for the conditions.

Documents and insurance

It may seem obvious, but check your passport hasn’t expired – easily done with current ten year passports if you haven’t travelled abroad for a while. Are you insured? Your company may have a blanket travel insurance policy, but check carefully.

A good travel insurance policy will cover everything from unexpected medical bills, cancellations, lost baggage and more.


Making lists under various headings is a basic yet effective way to ensure you think of everything and don’t leave something out. Lists under the following headings are worth making:

  • Documentation – visa, passport, inoculation certificates (if applicable)
  • Travel – what flights and other transportation is required? Identify and book accordingly
  • Clothing and equipment – need to buy anything? Maybe lighter business wear if going to an especially warm country. Require a travel bag for the laptop or new tablet?
  • Business materials – itemise everything required such as reports, briefings and presentation files (for example Powerpoint). What backup materials such as memory sticks and hard drives are required? Mobile Internet such as a dongle?

A helping hand

If you prefer or don’t know if you’ll have time for the above ‘DIY’ approach, there are travel management companies (TMCs) who can take some or all of the planning off you.

They’re particularly adept at organising travel and hotel bookings based on your requirements, and some can save you money as they’ll know how to secure the best prices. Usually an account handler or manager is assigned to you and they’ll put together a suitable travel and accommodation package. They mostly charge for their services by adding their fees to the booking costs.

You can choose from larger TMCs to smaller, specialist types. A good starting point is with the GTMC, a membership body for the travel management industry; their member companies account for some 80% of managed travel booked in the UK.

bed and breakfast

How To Start a Bed and Breakfast Business

There are lots of things to consider if you’re thinking about starting a bed and breakfast business; sadly, there’s a lot more to it than cooking a few English breakfasts and changing the bed sheets! It can involve a multitude of things, including finding planning permission, pricing, staff and suppliers. But if you have the right people skills and determination, it could be the career for you. Continue reading

phones for christmas

Got the Wrong Phone For Christmas? Trade It In!

Help is at hand if your new phone doesn’t meet your requirements

Trying to ‘make do’ with a phone that doesn’t suit you or can’t meet your needs is simply a nonstarter. For many of us, our phone is an important part of our everyday routines and – with more smartphones providing people with a mobile communication and entertainment centre – the right type is very important. Continue reading