Marc Hugo

Owner at The League Nutrition
Location:Bloemfontein, South Africa


    Owner at The League Nutrition
    Marc Hugo
    How the ASA became a medicine regulator, and almost lost its shirt
    I think the Advertising Standards Authority has a part o play to some extent. They miss the obvious warnings, like: Warning!! This bar of soap is smaller than it used to be!! But the ordinary consumer didn't grow up in a hole in the ground. The modern consumer does not need nanny-state protection and so-called anti-quackery do-gooders in the service of big pharma pontificating on the suitability of this or that. Herbex? Seriously? You don't have to go far to read about snake-oil salesmen at the turn of the century. Their ludicrous claims were laughable in their day and nothing much has changed. People should know a scam when they see one. We're surrounded by them. This is a cowboy state anyway. Having nanny-state laws to abide by while those civil servants whining about the public not knowing the lethal dose of lavender oil or the half-life of creatine gluconate are till-raping the city, province or country. Perhaps this complementary medicine market has something to cure ALPS (Acute Lack of Perspective Syndrome). Roy Jobson would try to secure an S7 schedule for that for a reason he'll dream up in 2031. For, you know.... just in case. Everything always needs further study. Caveat emptor. Read the packet. Apply your mind. Phone a friend. Don't expect government to always do it for you. They make a mess of it anyway. And before you think, "oh, but we're looking out for your safety".... No they're not. They're looking out for your wallet. We fought hard for freedom. The great economist Ludwig von Mises stated (and this was not an invitation for a discussion) "Freedom is a condition of man in a contractual society".
    Posted on 28 Nov 2017 15:15
    Marc Hugo
    I've no doubt the i20 is a viable four door family taxi. However, until the Koreans effectively, and I mean utterly redress the abhorrent practice of dog torture and dog eating in their country, without being unnecessarily indelicate, they know what to do with their cars, TVs and washing machines. Sorry, Henrie, it was a good write up, but ethics are ethics and they should not be for sale. The same applies to China.
    Posted on 19 Feb 2015 15:44
    Marc Hugo
    NutriTech accused of false advertising
    Thank you for the heads up Andre01. Yes, it is interesting to note the posting on the Nutritech site of the bona fides of their submitted product analysis. I am happy they have made this available on their site and I for one will always applaud transparency. That is excellent news.However, what one has to bear in mind is that, no different than the mystery diner that the restaurateur knows about in advance, so goes the quality of the sample submitted for analysis by this or any other company. This applies to any product, foodstuffs included. Product contents can vary either by happenstance or by deliberate action. In many products you might well not know changes have been made. So, in short, the sample submitted may indeed closely match the label data, on the day it was submitted, so that the lab results are positive. But then, subsequent batches are back to normal (not so good). One thing I wanted to reiterate (again) is that ISO does not fix this – if whey protein concentrate is substituted with sweet whey, the International Organization for Standardization is not going to correct the matter in situ as they are not there. Regulation at any other level cannot fix this and neither should it be expected to. The ultimate method for quality maintenance is ‘integrity’ on the part of the manufacturer (he does this out of professional pride and the desire to stay in business through continued sales) and of course, the vigilance of the consumer.Expecting an army of product police to look out for something you should be looking out for is disingenuous. Who would they be? That’s right. Government employees. Shiftless bureaucrats who make a mess of everything and cost the taxpayer tons of cash. And that’s not just here – it’s everywhere. I am stupefied by the number of otherwise intelligent people out there asking in one way or another for the suffocating and costly instruments of a nanny state. If a consumer is unhappy, tell the manufacturer; tell the retailer; tell a friend. Tell twenty friends if you wish. But above all, vote with your money for a product you and others trust.
    Posted on 25 Jan 2015 09:47
    Marc Hugo
    NutriTech accused of false advertising
    As a free marketer, vehemently in favour of a growing SA economy, it a matter of pleasure for me to call a spade a spade when I see one brandished in this manner. To get things started, and to properly set the scene so that no one thinks this an isolated case or mindset, I am going to quote from an article by Ivo Vegter writing for the Daily Maverick on June 6th last year.“The risks of regulatory capture are well known. It has its roots in a 1971 essay by George Stigler, a Chicago School free market advocate, 1982 Nobel laureate, teacher of Milton Friedman, and Nobel laureate in his own right.“It refers to the ability of powerful interests, usually regulated corporations or industries, to influence government rules to benefit them at the expense of their competitors, and to raise barriers to new entrants to the market.“Regulations do not have to be obviously biased to benefit the establishment. Onerous legal requirements to doing business always benefit large companies with the resources to comply, at the expense of smaller competitors. Consider the pharmaceutical approval process, with its expensive clinical trials, and whether an entrepreneurial lab on a shoestring could possibly compete against the capital clout of Big Pharma.“As I wrote recently: “Powerful money interests are always capable of perverting public policy. The more power the state has, the more there is to corrupt.”“But regulatory capture is not limited to crude bribery or nepotism, nor to corporate interests. It more usually takes the form of persuasive arguments ostensibly made in the public interest. It can involve any kind of lobby, and it is easy to disguise as public-spirited concern.”End of quote.To bring this back to the sports supplements industry where USN makes its home, they assert that in terms of “Labelling of Foodstuffs” legislation effective March 2012 (R146) Nutritech has deliberately, openly and doggedly misled the consumer. It is right to insist that they should be the subject of a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority. The retail and manufacturing side of the industry has been aware in many quarters that Nutritech has misrepresented the facts on labels and they should be confronted on this matter directly. Independent supplement retailers have also shared this fact with their clients. However, to my knowledge, it is this company only that has flagrantly flouted the truth on its labels and thus the vague and sweeping reference by USN to “rogue brands” has no relevance or meaning nor any basis in fact. Nutritech do not represent the industry; they represent only themselves. The article makes reference to Nutritech’s claims of being ISO 22000 accredited and GMP compliant and on this basis there should be no margin of error. Granted, the GMP standard is superfluous for the industry but as for “error”, since Nutritech quite likely deliberately assembled their products to differ from the label information, there is no error per se. As USN know perfectly well, GMP and ISO 22000 have nothing to do with quality of ingredients or nutritional quality. They measure and standardize cleanliness and record keeping. Nothing is going turn soy protein isolate into whey protein concentrate. When USN states that there are very few or no barriers to entry into the market (which is ultimately the food industry), that is the way it should be. As a free market protagonist, I believe that there should be few or no barriers to entry into commerce if an economy is to grow and unemployment is to decline. Surely that is what the country needs. However, this is not what the big players want. As Ivo Vegter states above, they are disguising their desire for regulatory capture with a pseudo-concern for the well-being of the consumer. They state that the industry should be “cleaned up”, and suggest that the image of South African supplements is at stake. This is akin to suggesting that an awful restaurant ruins the reputation of all other restaurants. Of course this is absurd. Consumers vote with their money and the retail industry is already on top of this problem. If this wasn’t true then the sales volumes of South African supplements would not be at an all time high. USN’s problem is that, while still a major brand, their sales are not at an all time high. Proportionally speaking, their share of the market has been substantially reduced through competition.Herein lies the real problem for USN: They made a bed for themselves and now they have to lie on it. Years ago (although long after they started as a tiny entrepreneurship, an enterprise concept they now decry) they made the decision to stock their brand more or less everywhere that would have it. Mass marts, discount drug stores, corner cafés, supermarkets and airports. These retail venues have absolutely no specialized personnel to consult the potential consumer. Again, stopping short of saying it, they intimate a certain complexity to the nature of the product: nutritional content, standards of manufacture and so forth. And this is true: multiple servings of a pre-workout could make you feel pretty unwell – even put you in medical trouble. If USN are so keen on flying the flag of safety why then are they perfectly willing to have these items sold in discount warehouses and roadhouses without recourse to competent guidance or expertise of any sort?Meanwhile, all their competitors’ products are sold in specialized supplement stores where such expertise is readily available. And these stores, ladies and gentlemen, are the places where we have no hesitation in telling consumers the truth about Nutritech (or any other brand). No need for legislators: proficiency in the field will get the job done.The public and industry with them should be wary about surrendering their freedom to over-regulation in return for the illusion of safety. Supplements are not medicine. They are nutrients formulated to have specific purposes. So beware of monopoly interests masquerading as your friend. They do not want to help you; they want to help themselves: this is exactly the thing we should be fighting against.If Nutritech has transgressed, take them to task by all means, via the ASA and news venues such as this. But bear in mind, the specialist independent retailers are aware of their transgressions and lose no time in informing potential consumers of the facts. Because unlike the mass marts and family grocers out there, we know what those facts are. [Edited]
    Posted on 21 Jan 2015 09:51
    Marc Hugo
    Allegations of racism against Azure colour social media blue
    Excellent and balanced commentary. Just one thing to add to RSF's entry: accusations of racism are made with incredibly reckless abandon in SA without any consideration that, because such an epithet is personally and commercially harmful, it can and should always be defended on the basis of a crimen injuria counter-suit which it precisely is (until proven to be true which as in this case is near-nigh impossible) .
    Posted on 13 Jan 2015 14:14
    Marc Hugo
    Government on an ad-banning roll
    Excellent analysis as usual from Chris Moerdyk. There's nothing that characterises a nanny state so much as regulation. Lots of it. And of course armies of civil servants policing needless regulations and a proliferation of frightened citizens thinking that the regs 'must be there for a reason'.
    Posted on 3 Dec 2014 10:48
    Marc Hugo
    SA Tourism to open marketing office in Sao Paulo
    I am surprised it has taken as long as this to open a SATour office in Brazil (South America's largest economy) and a BrICS partner to boot. Heel dragging more like...
    Posted on 29 Sep 2014 12:42
    Marc Hugo
    U2's new album free on iTunes
    Good. Thanks for the heads-up. Now I can avoid downloading it by mistake and having to listen to that bunch of puritanical hypocrites.
    Posted on 12 Sep 2014 12:34
    Marc Hugo
    Sports federations sign transformaton agreements
    If you pay the piper you can call a tune..... yes, "a" tune and not necessarily 'the' tune. It depends how much you pay - and so it applies to Mbalula's and the ANC cadre's transformation agenda. For all those sports that get taxpayer's cash to fund their sports in various ways, this political interference will be tolerated. However, if there's no cash forthcoming, and in advance to boot, they can kiss goodbye to calling any and all shots.
    Posted on 12 Sep 2014 12:29
    Marc Hugo
    Neotel wants to extend fibre, wireless throughout SA
    Why, whenever I see a representative of Neotel photographed, I see a foreigner? I am happy to buy an imported camera and an imported liqueur... these are either arts or sciences to which we still aspire. But when buying cabbages, and telecommunication services, I expect 'local" at every turn. It is essential to promote the purchase of South African products and the employment of South African people. I don't need to remind readers how difficult it would be for them to get a job in the country of origin of the majority of Neotel's directors and management.
    Posted on 4 Sep 2014 15:15
    Marc Hugo
    Grovel, grovel, Telkom's in trouble
    Excellent piece of reporting and splendidly written to boot. Let's waif for the annual report and find out what Telkom paid Schindehütte. Then we'll know the gravity of the secret he carries if not the secret itself. Perhaps he and the financial controls he applied were just to much to bear. After all the CFO is the ultimate custodian of governance......and he was "just in the way".
    Posted on 27 Aug 2014 13:07
    Marc Hugo
    Attempt to bridge racial divisions at tertiary institutions
    Oh quite right True Patriot. Take away all the racist legislation, and I mean ALL of it, and then gradually an utter disappearance of the past attitudes will die out generationally (sorry about that non-word). But until then, forget it.
    Posted on 27 Aug 2014 11:16
    Marc Hugo
    A tax of 20% mooted for sugary drinks
    This is misguided. I'm all for a leaner society, but this will have as much effect on consumer behaviour as excise on tobacco. That is to say, none.Those tasked with the survey wanted to deliver a cautiously encouraging result to those that sponsored it, but people will get fat in other ways. Corn curls and indolence for a start.Attach a levy on health insurance premiums, airplane tickets. Get direct about it. Don't, as usual, tax those who shouldn't be affected by it. This just a way to burden society with more tax (by pretending the government cares), create needless jobs to collect it all and monitor it, and set up committee upon committee to kick out data that just isn't true.Heck. if the government was so concerned about it, then they would set up disqualifiers for employing civil servants with excessive BMI levels.But they are not going to set the example and take away the sugar from where their mouths are, are they?
    Posted on 27 Aug 2014 09:12
    Marc Hugo
    Boardwalk Hotel awarded 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
    I do like the Boardwalk Hotel but to think it is 5-star is a giggle. It's comfortable (a touch pokey though and far cry from a Hyatt or a Sheraton room), and it's incredibly skin-deep, structure-wise. It has none of the majesty or sumptuous feel of a real -5-star establishment - or even four. Not in the outside world and oddly, not even in yesteryear South Africa either. Compare this with the Edward or the Mount Nelson in the 70s, the Carlton or Sandton Sun the 80s. Standards (not just of hotels but what we have come to expect of them) have dropped more than somewhat.
    Posted on 29 Jul 2014 12:11
    Marc Hugo
    Treasury might hike taxes
    In the end, there's nothing much that will help other than increasing the revenues withing the economy. The platinum and now the metal-workers strikes are the sole fault of the government concocted labour laws. They are way too lax and permissive. The ANC junta's diatribe breeds an unceasing flood of entitlement in a population lacking the smarts to know it's drivel....and the reckless spending of the government on self-serving programmes designed to make them look good at the expense of the people that essentially paid for them is intrinsically evil. This flight of fancy is gradually 'spearing in'.
    Posted on 15 Jul 2014 12:34
    Marc Hugo
    Regulation of supplements needed following deaths, doping charge
    Sure. he died, but, that was not declared the cause of death. 2-Amino-4-methylhexane; Dimethylamylamine; 1,3-Dimethylamylamine - the varous formats - linked to liver failures? Really? And alcohol? Any liver failure there? I enjoy a cabernet or a chenin blanc as much as the next person, but surely what we're dealing with is a lack of moderation. In the end, this is hysterical reporting (which leads to futile nanny-state interventions by state agencies that don't know better. In any case, this article is way out of date. Any chance of creating an archive for items more than 2 months old and concentrating on current stuff. This article appears in 5 other sections. Is there a need for that?
    Posted on 24 Jun 2014 18:36
    Marc Hugo
    Strike fuels prospects of tax on super-profits
    It should have sunk into the heads of the various government agencies and politicians by now (and especially in the wake of the platinum debacle) that SA can no afford the luxury of the present LRA and various other associated labour laws. And I include the 2 premier racist acts too. BAA and EE. These laws were concocted by the ANC. The present state of the economy is entirely their fault.
    Posted on 24 Jun 2014 13:48
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