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Label EVERYTHING! Really?

November 15, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes I read comment sections and wonder just how much people REALLY want, and if they realize what that takes. A great example came forth recently with a question asked on Eat Local Grown, a Facebook page.

Regular readers already know how I feel about BS labels. And food choices. And transparency. So it was with a tinge of excitement the page posed a question “Q: What should food companies be required to add to labels?” I admit the responses made my jaw drop. I expected GMOs, which was in several. Others wanted books. Among them:

Wilson JA GMOs, country of origin, all ingredients including how the plant was grown, ie toxins

Mike Panicc Listed by name any pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, chemicals natural or other, instead of flavoring it should list the chemical process done to flavor it including a list of every chemical in that process and the same for anything that goes through a chemical process. If a chemical was used at any point of its production and or removed it should still be labeled. A warning label should be on any product that contains ingredients that were concluded to be carcinogenic or a hormone disruptor. They should also list the amount of insects, feces, and properties foreign to its production that are allowed to be present in the finished product. Meat should have a real picture of the farm it came from and the slaughter facility it was processed in. There should be a link available to quickly find any quality control incident the company was involved in such as the use of different ingredients than those listed, department of health or agriculture infractions. Full disclosure, full responsibility, full transparency.
Ivy P****l List pesticides, fungicides, hormones, antibiotics, bugs, hair, dirt, chemicals, GMOs, etc… Even certified organic products should include everything since they can have a small percentage of non-organic ingredients.
Shelley B****** Every single ingredient, how the food is prepared, and where it comes from.
Renee E  Pesticide use, GMOs, and info printed big enough that I don’t have to get a magnafying glass out to read it !!
Vicky W******* Everything. Even raw food should have a disclosure, even if it has been planted in soil with cow manure as fertilizer it should be disclosed.
Matt C Any ££ or $$ spent lobbying to get the product approved ..If you have to force , pay , lobby , to get something approved to eat !!Probably needs a warning and should not be eaten …
Danielle J I would really like a complete run down. From the farm the ingredients came from, to their growing process, to the factory or farms process of distribution. I like reading labels.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOK so I went and pulled out a can of soup I purchased last night – something Connor and I will likely eat sometime in the next few days. This is ordinary, Shurfine chicken noodle soup in a 26 ounce can. So let’s think about this for a minute because the label is an inch and a half wide, 5 inches high with the nutrition facts and ingredients. Let’s say common sense we leave out serving instructions, allowing double the label space – in which we insert all the above information for each ingredient. That would be for:

chicken broth

enriched egg noodles (containing wheat flour, eggs, egg whites, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid – each needing all the above information)

chicken meat (cooked chicken meat, water, modified food starch, salt, sodium phosphate)

Less than 2% – but still ‘needs’ all above –

salt

corn starch

chicken fat

chicken flavor, onion powder, autolyzed yeast, salt, chicken broth, modified corn starch, natural flavor

spice extract

beta carotene

onion powder

garlic powder

If fields are burned for management reasons you need to know - right?

If fields are burned for management reasons you need to know – right?

Each one of these things must have information about where it was grown, how it was grown, what was used on the fields, how much was spent lobbying (does that run per year or ? – chicken lobbying is how much?) and a host of other things AND be large enough to read and guess what – now that 26 ounce can needs a fold out book to cover everything from the eggs, the egg whites, wheat, onion and garlic powder, meat, water etc etc and ALL may come from different farms. If 1,000 farms sell to the meat processor, then you need information on each of those 1,000 farms in order to be accurate, because you don’t know that the bits of chicken didn’t come from multiple farms. Ditto corn starch, chicken broth, eggs and chicken fat. So we’re putting out a book for each can of soup, which then uses how much paper to sell a can of $1.59 soup, which will no longer be $1.59 but several dollars to cover the book, I mean label. More packaging is needed, increasing costs because as a label that book must not come off the can, increasing packaging costs and wastes to landfills (because many people do not recycle).

Then a ray of hope –

Nick H   Nothing, bring on the free market. If they try to deceive the consumer, there will be backlash.

Megan E   A website where we can view the sources of all their ingredients.
Jayme D    I think the question is more of what food companies should be allowed to put into products in the first place. Yes, we should have labeling so that those of us who try to be careful about what we consume can be more informed without the need to carry around a dictionary of potentially harmful ingredients. But we also need food companies to stop adding ingredients that could cause harm. I feel that the only way we will get to the point of not needing such extensive labeling is to label and make the companies change by using our purchasing power to tell them what we don’t want in our food. Also ALL of the preservatives, listed as individual ingredients.

How simple is that? Buy what you like, don’t buy what you don’t like, tell the food companies what you want. Engage them, talk to them. It might not get anywhere but here’s the alternative.

Come buy a chicken (plan ahead because, unlike the grocery store we don’t always have it ready and it takes a while to grow it). Cut it up, make your own broth, separate the meat bits, add the veggies you like. All of that can be put on one sheet, although others say if it needs a label don’t buy it and that is a label. Ack!! OK focus. Make your broth, make your own egg noodles from scratch, add it together and let it simmer. Eat right away. You’ll need to do this every time you make chicken noodle soup, because the resources have vastly increased with all the information in the book so to save money plan on spending a lot more time in the kitchen. This can be a good family bonding time. Like families used to be, eating food that used to be.
If someone really wants to know, the information is out there to look up. Of course, if it’s not really wanted – and for most people it’s not, you could just purchase accordingly. This is a long post, but not NEARLY as long as the food labels outlined above! You could read farm blogs of how farmers supplying commercial ventures farm and learn…but no, it must be on a label! How many don’t know that wheat has B vitamins? Not additives, but it can be labeled so is?
Sometimes too much information really applies. Those scary ingredients – vitamins and flavor enhancers. Linked above for those who wish to read. What farm, what variety of seed, what management of the field, how it was harvested, etc not included but one thing for sure -if you read the entire information before eating it’d probably be more than one serving eaten, and would result in weight loss to read a book before each meal.
See – there’s always an up side!
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2014 4:44 PM

    Also there needs to be information on how the feed fed to the animals was raised. And if it was raised on an organic farm, how was the organic fertilizer obtained? Did it come from animals that are present on that farm or was it imported from other farms that may or may not be organic?

  2. February 26, 2015 10:36 PM

    Reblogged this on Slow Money Food and commented:

    Label discussions are common in headlines, media and ballot initiatives. How much information do you really want to know about your food? Are you taking steps to find out? Have you considered what it REALLY takes for full disclosure?

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