A third of food products in the UK are mislabelled

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zin, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. zin macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I'm interested in reading from the libertarians / free marketers among this forum. In a world where the government does not regulate the food industry, how would you ever know that food companies are lying as to what is inside of your food? I don't know about you but I sure don't have access to any kind of laboratory.

     
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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  3. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #3
    They should return to the old tried and true, a thumb on the scale.
     
  4. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #4
    Can't say I'm surprised. I'd bet it's even worse in the US.
     
  5. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #5
    I'm waiting for the authorities to find crack cocaine in Red Bull.....

    Seriously, though, the one thing that I have noticed since I moved to the UK 20 years ago is a willingness on the part of business people in all types of work and at all levels to act like con artists. In the UK it's not 'Buyer beware' but 'Screw the buyer'.
     
  6. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #6
    Although the subject was different in this article, the principle is the same:

    For the rest of the story:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/02/high-speed-trading-isnt-about-efficiency-its-about-cheating/283677/
     
  7. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #7

    Yep, there' are some big bucks afloat in DC when anyone says anything about changing food safety or nutrition labeling laws in the USA....

    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/08/millions-spent-lobbying-food-safety-during-second-quarter/

    The piece above is old news but still gives a good overview of how much effort agribusiness, retail megacorporations and the likes of chambers of commerce put into trying to make sure they don't have to provide consumers any more info about their foodstuffs than they've already been forced to do. It's eye-opening, and disappointing, but hardly surprising any more.

    These outfits each spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per quarter trying to fight regulations on labeling or nutrition, food safety, environmental issues related to food production, transportation and sale. They manage to weaken most legislation that actually passes. I can only imagine what state our food would be in if we had even less regulation (or less enforcement of existing regulation, also a concern nowadays).
     
  8. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #8
    Even more annoying is that they try to prevent some companies from voluntarily putting extra information on their products. ex. rBST labels.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recombinant_bovine_somatotropin
     
  9. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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  10. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #10
    I'm sure your experience is more extensive than mine in eating in the UK...but when I was there (admittedly, many years ago), the restaurants in which I ate had wonderful food.

    That said...mislabeling foods at a rate of 33% of total tested foods is pretty appalling.
     
  11. Grey Beard macrumors 65816

    Grey Beard

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    #11
    Our labeling is not so bad in New Zealand, but the fonts they use are so bloody small that I can't read the text without a strong magnifying glass.

    KGB:cool:
     
  12. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #12
    Is there an iPhone app that allows you to scan the UPC, and it then gives you a readable list of the same information?

    If not, there should be.

    Hell, Siri could even read it to you, in her sexy voice. :p
     
  13. JackieInCo macrumors 601

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    #13
    Here in the US, we have a problem with an ingredient being used in food that is used also to make yoga mats. I read an article on NBC News that mentioned it is in Subway bread, hamburger buns at McDs and BK as well as Jack in the Box and a chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A. Subway says it will stop using it sometime in the future and others have shrugged it off saying its FDA approved.
     
  14. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #14
    Well the restaurants were not bad, but it wasn't great, although they do cook damn good steaks. I was mostly clowning about packaged foods from the grocery stores in the UK. Most of it taste so bland.

    ----------

    Would fun to see her try to pronounce some of the long word ingredients.
     
  15. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

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    #15
    When there's something absolutely too small for me to read and I don't have reading glasses handy, I photograph it with my iPhone and then zoom the photograph
     
  16. lannister80 macrumors 6502

    lannister80

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    #16
    Why is that a problem? What if alfalfa was used to make yoga mats?

    I mean, if FDA-approved is generally the standard for "what's OK to eat" in the US, then why is this ingredient/chemical any different? Is it actually harmful?
     
  17. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #17

    Heh, how about Patak's Brinjal relish (that spicy eggplant stuff)? That on some chickpeas and quinoa sure wakes me up fast... I hope its ingredients are properly on the label, it sure tastes like what it says it is. :D

    Anyway too late to switch out of it now, I'm long since hooked on it as part of a combo to break the monotony of steel cut oats and whatever (apples, raisins, cinnamon). I must go through a jar of that stuff a month. Patak's loves me.
     
  18. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #18
    It's not much better here in the Netherlands, we have a TV program which every week puts a product under the stoplight.

    It started in 2009 and at the time the makers thought that it would only last for about two seasons, but the situation was so bad that it is still going.:(

    http://keuringsdienstvanwaarde.kro.nl
     
  19. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #19
    I think you probably went to the wrong restaurants. There are plenty of nice ones. If you went for Indian food it would wipe the floor of anything in the US.

    Probably because you avoided the posh ones, and because the cheaper ones are less overloaded with salt than in the US ;).
     
  20. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #20
    True libertarians don't buy prepackaged cheap meals, they cook their own.
     
  21. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #21
    You mean they're cannibals??? :eek: The horror, the horror!
     
  22. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #22
    Oh, those "true libertarians", the truly great among us. And they ALL abjure all short cuts...such role models!

    Proprietor: "We don't serve Black people here."

    Black Customer: "That's OK, I don't eat them"



    Vaudeville is not dead...:p
     
  23. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #23
    I hardly think that attitude is limited to the UK. There was just a Class 1 recall of 8.7 MILLION POUNDS of beef from a northern California company "because it processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection."

    USDA notice of beef recall 2014 Feb 8

    That's a lot of cattle. Maybe they turned up evidence of at least some downed or sick cows having gone through the line and couldn't trace them to specific boxes of final product so they recalled the whole week's worth of production. A class 1 recall is the most severe category; per USDA language "This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."

    The thing that might bother one the most about that recall notice (dated February 8, 2014) is this: "The products were produced Jan. 1, 2013 through Jan. 7, 2014 and shipped to distribution centers and retail establishments in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas."

    So a month had already gone by. How much of this recalled meat had been consumed in those states, or sold on to establishments in other states in the course of a month?

    As far as I'm concerned, so much for the US government thinking to delegate even more responsibility for inspections to the producers. I'm not sure how full-on libertarians square their desire to have government keep out of things with a (presumed) desire to eat wholesome food.
     
  24. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #24
    Agreed, but it is prominent in the UK and far more noticeable than the US. For instance, the jackass who sold phony explosive detectors to countries all over the world was from the UK (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23768203). Most British people are honest, but in every aspect of life here there are those who just plain cheat and are proud of it.
     
  25. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #25
    Its an interesting, but not altogether surprising, story.

    Food safety and purity falls squarely at the Nexus of Government vs. Free Market. Should the Government (which presumably has different goals than profit-making business) be responsible for ensuring food (and other products) are exactly as advertised?

    Or should the free-market take care of this function? Does the loss of consumer confidence that follows the discovery of contamination provide enough of an incentive for business owners to maintain universally high standards?

    Obviously the answer to the second question is: No. There have been too many stories over the millennia for us gullible humans to trust implicitly in the goodness of our fellow man. And I think you could make a very good case that here in the United States - the center of international capitalism - that Government regulation and oversight (The FDA, USDA, NHTSA, etc.) has been instrumental in saving literally millions of lives through a combination of standards, inspections, and regulation. I think we can rely on Government to make sure our food is safe.

    The second part of the equation, however, also has to be that of consumers themselves. And here I think British consumers have failed themselves. In my experience, too often British consumers simply do not demand the level of excellence their American cousins do. It may be the experience of scarcity and rationing from the post-war era; hundreds of years of cultural subservience to the upper classes; or something else entirely. But I see British people putting up with dreadful service on trains; filthy supermarkets; and badly run restaurants (for example) in a way that few Americans would stand for.
     

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