Saturday, February 13, 2010

Truth in labelling

I’m not fanatical about food, or labels, but there’s one thing I expect: Honesty. Recently I was reminded that it’s important to read labels because we can’t rely on manufacturers to be honest.

The bottle of lemonade in the picture is a leftover from Christmas. As I was tidying recently, I left it out on a table and Nigel glanced at the ingredients list (photo below) and noticed the last ingredient: “Sweetener (961)”.

Turns out that’s the artificial sweetener “neotame”.

I don’t buy soft drinks with artificial sweeteners mostly because I don’t like the taste or aftertaste of most of them. However, I'm also not keen on the idea of artificial sweeteners, and I’m not entirely sure they’re safe. If you search for them on the Internet, you’ll find plenty of people who are convinced they’re actually poisonous. I don’t know about that, but why take the chance if I don’t have to?

I never buy “diet” drinks so that I can avoid artificial sweeteners. Instead, I chose the normal “sugary” drinks because, I always thought, they didn’t have artificial sweeteners (and, I should add, they’re a rare treat). So, it never occurred to me to look on their labels for artificial sweeteners—until now.

I’m not singling out this particular brand—for all I know, they all do it. I do know I’ll be avoiding this particular brand from now on, and I’ll be reading the ingredients list of any I may buy in the future to find out what’s in it. Clearly I can’t rely on manufactures letting me know that their product unexpectedly contains artificial sweeteners. It’s no doubt true of other ingredients I may want to avoid.

In the absence of truth in labelling, let the buyer beware.


d said...

Definitely check out "Charlies honest" juices. All the ingredients are very clear. :)

Roger Owen Green said...

I found stuff in fruit cups, FCOL. Gotta check everything.

moosep said...

I find the most disturbing thing is the product is called "Lemonade" but contains no Lemon.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

D: I've had Charlie's juices and their other drinks, too. Very nice. But I'll still check out the label!

Roger: I think I was just naïve and I should've been checking everything already.

moosep: What, "Flavour" isn't descriptive enough? ;-) Actually, I think if it's totally artificial flavour it has to say so, which means it might actually have some lemon flavour in it.