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Food Labels – What Do You Believe & REALLY Want to Know?

April 3, 2013

I’ve visited the issue of labeling food and marketing claims a few times, and still see it as a point of seeming mystery for consumers. Worse, in my opinion, many are being taken in ways that aren’t a lie, but aren’t honest either.

In the days after April Fool’s day, this has come to light in a way that cost two radio DJ’s their jobs – and they never lied! They’re doing the same thing that many marketing food do – and yet:

“And apparently, the station, the water works, and perhaps the authorities are still trying to figure out if the two hosts could face felony charges for, again, reporting that the scientific name of water was coming out of the pipes.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey did not lie – there IS water coming out of their taps! “They told their listeners that “dihydrogen monoxide” was coming out of the taps throughout the Fort Myers area. Dihydrogen monoxide is water.” Now for this there are potential felony charges because people are so fearful about anything that sounds like a chemical that they cease to think?! In the end we’re all made up of ‘chemicals’ and proteins and scientific classed things.

THAT, dear readers, is what sets direct to the customer folks like us at unease. It’s why labeling is a hot zone because on one hand we’re told it’s what people want to hear, while on the other hand the truth is “misleading.”

My friend Weldon told of a visit to a southern California Whole Foods store:

Spending some time in Southern California. This place is crazy. Spent some time in a Whole Foods store. Never been in one. I understand what they mean by whole check store. Saw white corn (not sweet corn) on sale for $.67 an ear. Wow wish I could sell my white corn for that. Talked to a couple of employees. Told the first one what I did and where I was from. Said this is crazy – he looked around and said yep sure is. Told the second one same thing. He said how so. I told him the claims made for these products was not accurate. Just happened to be standing by the popcorn. Looked at it and it said non-gmo pop corn. I said did you know there is no gmo pop corn, he said really? Probably thinks I am crazy.

So is there GMO popcorn? Let’s ask someone who grows on a larger scale, with different seed than I:

Zach Hunnicutt No such thing as traited popcorn at market. The research has been done, but there is no GMO popcorn approved for sale. It’s just as meaningful saying “non-GMO popcorn” as saying “I posted this from a non-GMO phone”.”

Zach grows commercial popcorn, as does our friend Brian Scott, who agreed there was no GMO varieties.

There’s the constant question of where does what people want to hear become dishonest? For example if we dressed out two rabbits, put up one at $5 per pound and the other at $7 per pound because it has no antibiotics or GMO, many would purchase the $7 per pound one. The reality that neither one has antibiotics or GMO – because none do! – isn’t brought up, but is that honest? Would you be happy paying an additional $2 per pound for the same thing, or would you feel mislead or taken advantage of?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAConnor purchased some salsa recently labeled “naturally fat free” – now with tomatoes, peppers, onions it is. But ALL tomatoes, peppers and onions are. No cholesterol labels for non-animal products is another…it sways the public that don’t think or know that no tortillas have cholesterol  until you put something in them.

It seems people don’t want to talk about it until there’s felony charges for fraud involved. When we say there’s no GMO popcorn, or wheat or other things available on the commercial market we’re told we’re in denial. We just don’t know because all of these sites say there is!

And thousands in Fort Meyers Florida said there was a water issue because dihydrogen monoxide was coming from their water tap too. Not all is what it seems.

It’s overwhelming sometimes to think what we say and what people think can clash so much there are felony charges involved. No one can be mislead if they’re not led.

If you’re concerned about your food, exert food choices and go beyond labels. Know who, where and how your food was produced. If you’re not concerned, that’s fine too – there’s plentiful food choices, but don’t blame farmers and food processing companies for being dishonest because people don’t listen to what many of us are trying to talk about and tell them.

Honesty. Truth. These are good things. But they’re changed by perception and perspective – and none of us can control that, nor should we pay the penalty for it.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Hickenlooper, Sylvia - NRCS, Longmont, CO permalink
    April 3, 2013 11:47 AM

    Thank you! I greatly appreciate your posts I receive to my email. I signed up to receive them because I wanted to see how others are promoting agriculture awareness. You’re blog came up a recommend read and I am so grateful to have received your words of wisdom.

    I work side-by-side with the conservation districts in providing educational outreach on how food is produced, what crops are used for in our area, and the conservation efforts that we assist farmers with to produce food while protecting our natural resources. We can never assume people know things, if we are not educating them.

    I truly enjoy your posts. Thank you and keep up the amazing job!

    Sylvia Hickenlooper
    Soil Conservationist
    Longmont, Colorado

    • April 3, 2013 12:00 PM

      Thank you! Conservation is critical for sure! Although small scale here, we’re very conscious of water runoff, use of shelter belts etc. I’ve seen cardinals briefly in our hoop rabbit shelter, which has an open front. I think teaching others what we do is important, but also, hopefully, inspiring people to think about what *they* think about an issue or situation and talk about it. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. April 3, 2013 9:35 PM

    So many people get tricked by labeling. There are even studies that show people will buy stuff with a label over the same unlabeled product. Even if the labeled product costs more.

  3. April 4, 2013 11:06 AM

    This is a great post to highlight how consumers should work more to educate themselves about food. The popcorn example reminds me of claims on chicken as “hormone-free.”

    • April 4, 2013 12:46 PM

      Absolutely! So many *don’t* know and the claims are true but it’s not unusual. *I* feel it’s dishonest, and will keep trying to reach people, not so that they buy from us but so that wherever they buy they have an accurate idea what they’re paying for. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


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  2. What are GMOs & Why Do Farmers Plant GMO Crops?
  3. Label EVERYTHING! Really? | Food, Farm, Life Choices

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