2011.04.20 Maybe it’s time I start ignoring product labels

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

A while back, I was looking at a label on a ketchup bottle in a local restaurant when the owner, not unfamiliar with this column, confiscated it, saying, “I’m taking this back before you end up writing about it.” Actually, I ran a ketchup column way back in 2000 so he had little to worry about. Other product labels, however, are still fair game.

A box of Raisinets recently followed me home and was good for a chuckle or two. A blurb on the front panel bragged that they were a “Natural source of fruit antioxidants.” The info about those natural antioxidants being coated in milk chocolate full of artery-clogging saturated fat is saved for the back of the box.

The box front also features artwork of a medal claiming the product is a “Best Taste Award Winner.” The box back explains the award is given “to the brand rated highest overall among leading brands by independent professional chefs.” Can’t you just imagine Chef Gordon Ramsey leaving Hell’s Kitchen long enough to judge Raisinets? I suppose he’d say something like “These look like they’re raccoon droppings, but they’re bloody delicious!”

While I’m talking about taste, I should mention my disapproval of the way some companies try to fool my taste buds. Another recent purchase was of a liquid product billed as “Strawberry Kiwi” and “100% Juice” on the front. But check out the ingredient list and kiwi is the fourth of five different juices listed, followed by strawberry. 

First juice in the list is apple, followed by grape (white grape, I’d bet) and pineapple. Then came the two juices I thought I was buying. I actually like pineapple juice, but why mix it with strawberry? Obviously to save money by using cheaper juices, but charging like it was only strawberry and kiwi. If they had simply called it “Fruit Punch,” I would probably have passed it by.

Another bottle, labeled on the front as “100% Apple Juice,” made me feel like a world traveler by the time I finished the contents. I know some companies combine several varieties of apples in an attempt to improve the taste, but this was ridiculous.

This brand’s ingredient label listed apple juice concentrate from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China and the United States. Drinking a glass was a little like visiting the United Nations, only in liquid form. I hate it when my lowly glass of apple juice has been in two more continents than me.

But it could be worse. Some companies, probably in an attempt to cover as much of their corporate posterior as possible, list every possible eventuality on their label. That way, no matter what they end up putting in their product, and wherever they end up making it, not to mention what’s happening in the adjacent assembly line, no one can accuse them of leaving it off the label.

Take, for instance, a can of chocolate-covered cashews I recently purchased (after I finished the Raisinets). I learned that the company is from Jersey City, New Jersey, but that’s the only thing about the snack they’ll willing to state without a doubt, except that it’s packed in the United States.

The “product” itself is “from USA and/or Canada and/or Malaysia.” Not ambiguous enough for you? There’s the cashews, which are “from Vietnam and/or Brazil and/or India and/or Africa.” After they are gathered from one or all of those areas, they are roasted in “Peanut and/or Cottonseed and/or Sunflower and/or Canola Oil.”   

And those suffering from allergies should be aware that the facility in the USA, Canada, Malaysia (or any possible combination thereof) uses “milk, egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, sulfites and sesame products.” So, no matter what food may cause you or your family problems, there’s a fair chance it was somewhere in the plant the cashews came from.

In fact, the more cashews I eat, the queasier I’m beginning to feel myself. But I’m not yet sure if it’s a food allergy and/or acid reflux and/or food poisoning and/or my imagination. Maybe I’d better read the label on the bottle of Tums. What could it hurt?

  • Homecoming Court
    HOMECOMING—One senior candidate will be chosen Morenci’s fall homecoming queen during half-time ceremonies Friday at the football field. In the back row are seniors Mikayla Price, who will be escorted by Mason Vaughn; Madison Bachman, escorted by Kiegan Merillat, and Mikayla Reinke, escorted by Griffin Grieder. Senior Ariana Roseman is absent from the photo. Her escort is Garrett Smith. In the front is sophomore Abbie White, who will be escorted by Ryder Price; junior Madysen Schmitz, escorted by Harley McCaskey and freshman Madison Keller, escorted by Jarett Cook.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016