Food Labeling - Do people really care about it?
#1
Every time I walk in to a store or a bakery in kanyakumari, I see these large food packs with biscuits and some unknown snacks of different shapes and colours stacked beautifully on the shelves. Many have a brand name on it but no mention about the producer nor the list of ingredients. We might be able to keep children ( includes some grown ups as well) away from coca cola, but not from these colourful foods sold in the bakeries and stores. What about the safety of these food products?

No Idea!

Bacteria may not grow on it because these are dry products. But, how about the chemicals - colour, baking powder, flavour?
We need better labeling regulations in India.

What if we get the producers to declare the ingredients on the label?

A survey in Ireland ( in 2009) indicted that 45% of the Irish consumers never read labels. Even smaller would be the percentage of people who actually use the nutritional and handling information on the labels. A massive Ecoli outbreak linked to Nestle's cookie dough in 2009 is another example of how bad consumers are when it comes to reading and responding to what is suggested on the labels. The label on the dough clearly states that it has to be cooked well before consumption. In a new study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, several of the people who got sick after eating raw cookie dough bought the contaminated dough with the sole intention of eating it raw. They didn't even want to cook it. I wonder whether the outbreak had any impact on the behaviour of these consumers.

Can you trust what is written on the label?
Fat free, sugar free, anti-oxidant rich, 'keep a man going' are things that you find on the labels. How true are these claims?
Most countries do little to validate these claims. Many rely on the 'trust' factor which the manufacturers often abuse.

What should you do?
-Continue to read labels.
-Follow the storage and handling instructions. If it says - "store chilled after opening' - do that. Stick to the shelf life
- Eat sweets and snacks with colour and 'added ingredients' in moderation. Continuous exposure is what is dangerous. Mix it up! ( Note: jalebi, laddoo, mysore pav - all of them have the same colour. So there is no point in mixing them up. Reduce the quantity).
- Health conscious? - I don't know what to tell you about nutritional labeling. it is so damn confusing!




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#2
Quote:Bacteria may not grow on it because these are dry products. But, how about the chemicals - colour, baking powder, flavour?
We need better labeling regulations in India.

For sure! I always check the labels- a habit I picked up abroad- and the labels for food products in India contain insufficient information. In fact, the labels on over the counter medicinal concoctions are as bad, sometimes not even clearly listing the active ingredient, let alone the fillers.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#3
(14-Dec-2011, 06:59 PM)Ajita Kamal Wrote:
Quote:Bacteria may not grow on it because these are dry products. But, how about the chemicals - colour, baking powder, flavour?
We need better labeling regulations in India.

For sure! I always check the labels- a habit I picked up abroad- and the labels for food products in India contain insufficient information. In fact, the labels on over the counter medicinal concoctions are as bad, sometimes not even clearly listing the active ingredient, let alone the fillers.

It is a good habit Ajita. It really helps when regulations are clear and industry is responsible.

Nutritional labeling is still a messed up area. Companies are extremely manipulative because of the economic impact transparency can have. Things get interesting when you start buying baby food. The whole damn cereal pack loaded with sugar gives you all sort of information including Ben10's height and weight ! We will be lost in the sea of information, most of it unnecessary.

I still remember this joke " A guy walks into a store, picks up a food packet and reads - '99% fat free' and his wife goes - Must be the packaging material!"

Here is something about the politics behind labeling in the US from Marion Nestle
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