Asian Kitchen – Crushed Ginger

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I saw this on the shelf and grabbed it thinking that I always forget to buy ginger so it would be convenient to have a jar of it handy.
Tonight, after I’d added a couple of spoonfuls into a stirfry I casually read the label and awarded it a massive, WTF?

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So there is ginger (good start), sugar (you just can’t get rid of this shit), sunflower oil, water, acidity reglautors (surhedsreguleringsmidler) E260 & E230 (nasty and banned in Australia), antioxidant E223.  Fuck off for fucks sake. Are you seriously saying you can’t chop up some ginger, store it in a jar and sell it without adding all this shit to it? The sugar is espeically annoying as people really do not expect there to be sugar in a jar of crushed ginger.  So the jar was being thrown out, but as it almost dropped from my hand into the sink, I noticed more on the label that I hadn’t noticed before.

Is there any better exclamation of surprise and disgust as WTF? This is what the label went on to warn us about:

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Translated this says. “May contain traces of crustaceans, wheat, fish, peanuts, soya, celery, mustard, sesame seeds and (my favourite) molluscs.

Molluscs!?? Crustacea? Fish?  Fuck me. Talk about covering all bases here.  Don’t they wash their pans at the factory when they make this stuff?

I wonder how many of us would shrug this warning off if we had read it.  “Oh that’s ok, some old mollusc and fish with soja and some oil that’s not meant to be there is fine. As long as it tastes of ginger, that’s the main thing.”  If I had read that, I wouldn’t have bought it. Mind you, I would have been out of the transaction at ‘sugar’. I just feel like the food companies are taking the piss and seeing what they can get away with:

“Lets call it crushed ginger but let’s get Eric in accounts to do a dump in it, then we’ll put a little warning on the back in very small writing; ‘May contain traces of Eric’.

I know that sugar is used to enhance the flavour but I bought ginger. I know what ginger tastes like. You don’t need to enhance it thankyou.

For a little, unassuming jar, it’s a disgusting link in our food chain.

E223

Known as sodium metabisulphite, pyrosulphurous acid or disodium salt

E223 is a food additive approved by the European Union and used as an antimicrobial, antioxidant, synthetic food preservative and bleaching agent in food products.

Known to reduce the vitamin content of the foods in which it is used.

E223 is a sodium salt of sulphurous acid. Added sulphites (E221 – E228) should be avoided if an individual is intolerant to natural sulphites.

The chemical is hard to metabolize in those with impaired function of the kidneys and is known to illicit asthma attacks in asthmatics.

E230 – Biphenyl/diphenyl

A food additive approved by the European Union. Banned in Australia.

Antifungal synthetic preservative in food products, particularly citrus fruits to prevent the growth of penicillium mould.

E230 is banned in Australia and has been known to cause liver, as well as central and peripheral nerve damage in some people subject to frequent close contact to large amounts of E230. It is classified as an irritant. Headaches and skin disorders have also been reported in conjunction with the use of E230.

The common name for E230 is biphenyl or diphenyl

Nasty

Fluff

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Fluff? What the hell is that? And, what’s it doing in my house?

Well, it’s mine and it was a birthday present from some friends who didn’t know, in all fairness that I was leading a sugar free existence.  They made me a hamper of English / American food and drinks which was very thoughtful. Also, I have 3 kids who aren’t exactly sugar free. It’s a type of spread that you can put on your toast made, as the label suggests from marshmallows.

So what’s in it?

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Glucose sirup, sugar, egg whites, artificial flavouring and colour. The flavour would be Caramel and the colour is E129 (azzuro red)

You may notice that this product is white and the label actually applies to the Strawberry version.

E129, or allura red colour is the additive that causes the warning “kan have en negativ virkning på aktivitiet og opmærksomhed hos børn” or

“Can have a negative effect on the activity and attention of children”

To me, this could just as easily read POISON.

Without the E129 it becomes a little less deadly and just basically sugar and egg whites. It says artificial flavouring and says karamel but  I have an idea it might be a caramel extract and natural.

I really like the warning on the label though and this warrants further investigation. I’ll see what I can find out.

E129 Allura Red

A synthetic azo dye.  Azo dyes account for nearly 60%-70% of all dyes used in food and textile manufacture.

Additionally, it is a histamine liberator, and may intensify symptoms of asthma. In combination with benzoates, it is also implicated in hyperactivity in children. One of its degradation products causes bladder cancer in animals when present in high concentrations.

This is nasty, at least potentially.

How much mango is there in a mango smoothie?

A strange question perhaps, especially after my next post as going to be about peanut butter. However, when I was in Føtex yesterday looking for something nice to drink for our Mothers Day breakfast, I saw this product:  A mango smoothie from Rynkeby. Full of mangos.

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Mango smoothie with 100% fruit.  Being a cynic I looked at the back side just to check  if this was the case:
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They weren’t wrong. It is 100 % fruit but only 18% Mango?  This is a mango smoothie right. It’s advertised as a mango smoothie yet the main ingredients are made up of apples and oranges.  Considering there is probably a small amount of banana puree in this, there must be around 75% apple and orange juice.  I don’t like to complain about something that looks fairly healthy (i.e. no added sugar or flavourings) but I feel a bit deceived by this.

I wrote to Rynkeby with 3 questions:

1. How can you call a drink a Mango smoothie when it is just 18% mangos?

2. Isn’t it better to call it Mango, Apple and Orange smoothie, thereby being more honest?

3, Aren’t there any EU rules for inferring a drink is one thing but containing 82% other stuff.

I received this very nice and very prompt reply;

“Thank you for your inquiry regarding our Mango Smoothie. It is perfectly permissible to highlight a taste of a product; it is often seen in other food categories – eg. Strawberry yogurt, liver paste, shrimp salad and chicken sausage etc.

And yes, there are also EU rules that govern this area. The rules shall provide, inter alia, that if you highlight an ingredient in the form of text or illustrations, then it should also be possible for the consumer to see how much of the product contains the given ingredient - in this case 18% mango.

We are very conscious not to mislead our consumers and therefore, have internal procedures, including checks that we don’t highlight ingredients that may not be highlighted and if we do highlight them, then you can see the contents in the list of ingredients. In addition, we will always tell the consumer if they can expect other ingredients in the product. In this case we show great pictures of the other fruit contained in the smoothie – that’s why you see on the front page pictures of orange, apple, banana and mango – all the ingredients. This we would not necessarily have needed, but do it in order not to hide what is in the product.”

I wrote back to say that although I understood what she was saying, I still felt mislead by the labelling and the suggestion that this drink was predominantly made up of lovely mangos.

Also, just because others do it, doesn’t make it any less misleading.

This product from Innocent is better in my opinion as it gives all the main ingredients in its title.

http://www.innocentdrinks.dk/kids_ama.php

I checked online to see if I could find any EU legislation for food labelling and came up with this:

DIRECTIVE 2000/13/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
of 20 March 2000 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs

I would say under Article 2 there could be a case but I am sure it’s open to interpretation.

What do you think? Misleading or is it just me?

Update to this post:

I received another reply from Rynkeby:
“Dear Duncan

I am sorry that you thought that our Mango smoothie consisted of 100% pure mango – of course it’s really annoying!
We follow the said rules and see that we are on top of that also is a step ahead compared to many of our competitors. You can, for example. check Innocents or Froosh smoothies – they also highlight a taste, although there are many other fruits in the product – showing no pictures of the other ingredients. I am in no way hanging competitors out as what they do is completely legal, but it’s just to show that we have carefully considered the fact that the consumer should not be misled into believing that the product contains only one ingredient.
At the same time  it’s also nice for consumers to know what the product tastes like and in this case, the taste of mango – a product made ​​from 100% mango, would almost be undrinkable;-)

If you go in and read our inspection reports on
you will find the following formulation of the food authorities on the exact same product: http://www.findsmiley.dk/KontrolRapport.aspx?id=80168908&akt=2&AktLbNr=743385&Region=03

“Labelling and information: Checked labelling Smoothie Mango and orange juice, including labeling with net weight, trade name, durability and storage instructions.
No annotations. Checked deception in the form of illustration in cartons without annotations “

I hope that you have become a little wiser and I’ve certainly taken your views on, because we can always get even better;-)”

I used Google translate for most of this and I like the Smiley report that “Checked deception”.
In retrospect, maybe I am being a bit picky but it just grates me a little bit.

Full marks to Rynkeby though for their really fast and honest answers.