When the Ingredients Don’t Say it All

The Purpose of Reading the Ingredients

There are people who read the ingredients on food embellishment. They wish to know what they eat. There is a certain interest in knowing what you put in your body. Particularly how much sugar, fat and calories there are. Which products contain those awful artificial sweeteners? To other people reading that microscopic text is just unwanted stress. To me, it is a matter of great importance to read the ingredients in detail. Products which appear identical at first glance may be decisively different due to a single ingredient. Most people do not need to worry about this, but for me it is a part of every shopping trip. Most ingredients are listed on the embellishment as decreed by law. To people with food allergies or intolerance the information is invaluable. Still, it is not always adequate. There is still legal to use certain diffuse terms. What does “spices” herbs” and “herb oils” really mean?

Spices are mentioned twice in the Grandiosa ingredients

Krydder (spices)… and Krydder one more time!

Originally this is simply a matter of making it easy. Less words to print on the label, and room for some “secret” ingredient. To not write all the ingredients in full is primarily a practical choice. Unfortunately, it is far from practical to all.

Is it Really That Important?

It you are allergic or intolerant towards a specific spice or herb then it becomes really problematic.Common ingredients, by example; paprika powder and onion powder cause serious reactions in me. When the ingredients on the label does not inform fully if these are in the food or not that is an issue. The listed ingredients on the label also showcase how honest a producer is to its customers. Lacking or errant information results in loss of trust, and in worst case; serious reactions. Thus, as a customer facing insufficient labeling, you end up with two options:

Aftenposten2014-11-14 09.10.22 about wrong labeling of ingredients.

Aftenposten: 2014-11-14. Norwegian newspaper article reporting errant labeling of bread.

  1. Contact the producer directly, and inquire of a full content declaration.
  2. Test the product yourself by means of provocation.

The first is cumbersome, and inefficient. Waiting on a reply inhibits impulse shopping. Standing in que on the phone only to reach a central desk un-equipped to answer and then be forwarded many times over is only frustrating. The producers often do not want to give out more information than they have to. My first such inquiry was replied by a returned question of “What exactly are you allergic to?” Which is hard to answer in my situation. A final answer was only given 3 weeks later after a reminder notice from me. The contact form on Gradiosa’s website claims they will reply shortly. That proved to be false. And now their contact form is downa and dead. It appears they do not want to answer customer questions about ingredients. Even after the reply I got, which only said that there IS onion in the pizza, I am not much more informed. So the meaning of “spices” is still a mystery.

And the second option, to test a product so blindly on your own. It is hazardous. You are exposing yourself to the prospect of weeks of horrible pains and other symptoms, whilst learning nothing of what precisely is the cause of it.For people with really serious allergies blind testing may not even be an option.

Unclear ingredients

Which herbs? (urter) What spices? (krydder) Such ingredients provide more questions than answers.

So here is my little encouragement to the producers of food products. Please, provide full content declarations on the packaging! Or at least provide the full information on line.

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