It's been a good week for ...

sprout detractors

Christmas diners who prefer to dodge the most famous of festive greens will be pleased to hear proof has emerged that sprouts can be bad for you. The Medical Journal Of Australia reports a man from Ayrshire had to be hospitalised after eating too many Brussels sprouts last Christmas.

The vegetable contain lots of vitamin K, which promotes blood clotting. While not a bad thing in itself, the vitamin counteracted the effect of anticoagulants he was taking because he had a mechanical heart. Doctors at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank eventually realised too many sprouts were to blame.

Happily, his condition was stabilised, but the case should serve as a warning, and give a handy excuse to skip the sprouts, leaving more room for Christmas pudding.

It's been a bad week for ... chocolate bears

It might not be in the same league as Scotland's Ice Cream Wars, but Germany is waging its own confectionery battle. The pugilists? A jelly bear muscling in at 2cm tall and a slightly more substantial chocolate bear wearing a jaunty red ribbon and armoured in golden foil.

You might think these contenders bear little resemblance to each other. But there, you'd be wrong. Last autumn, German confectioner Haribo launched legal action accusing Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Sprungli of copying its trademark on the Gold Bear name after it launched the gold foil-wrapped Lindt Teddy. Haribo, which has been manufacturing multi-coloured gummy bears since 1967 and has held a global trademark for use of the term "Gold-Bears" since 1975, said the two products would confuse shoppers (but presumably only the really unobservant ones).

The Haribo gummy bear packaging features a cartoon bear wearing a red ribbon around its neck, while the Lindt product features a bear caricature printed on gold foil, with a real red ribbon wrapped around its neck.

On Tuesday, a German regional court ruled in favour of Haribo and banned any future sales of the chocolate bears.

To avoid any dolly mix-ups, sweetie eaters should perhaps stick to something far more distinctive – soor plooms, perhaps, not to be confused with sour grapes.