Archive for January, 2012

A major Canadian supermarket has had to recall some of its organic baby food. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a warning that some President’s Choice Organics baby food might be rancid. As a result, President’s Choice has voluntary recalled some if its PC Organic Infant Cereals.

Considering the little ones eating this food and their still developing immune systems, this is a serious concern. But parents, people – all of us – should always give food a good smell before eating it.

A woman I know in Montreal lost her sense of smell after giving birth. It was just one of those weird body-things that happen. It took years for it to return. In the meantime, her one greatest concern was not being able to smell foods before she gave it to her (by then) toddler.

Unless you’ve lost your sense of smell, check food first. Always. And especially if you didn’t make it yourself.

Food goes off. Packaging can be compromised. No one wants it, but it happens.

From the comments that follow the article that I read on, people are worked up and swearing off organics. In my view this is both ridiculous and reactionary.

Organic food goes off faster than processed foods precisely because it is not filled with chemical preservatives that artificially extend shelf life. If you choose to eat organic, it is likely because you want to avoid these preservatives.

We’ve become so accustomed to assuming food is always safe that we have forgotten (or are too busy, distracted, what have you) to simply use common sense.

Check the expiry dates, check the packaging, and give food a good sniff before you heat and before you eat. And let’s hope no one is seriously hurt by this.

Orange peel

As you may have heard, a California woman is suing the maker of Tropicana orange juice for misleading consumers that their product is “100% pure and natural” when it allegedly is not.

In her class action lawsuit, Angela Lewis said Tropicana deceives consumers by misrepresenting its Pure Premium juice in advertising and packaging.

Tropicana claims “16 fresh-picked oranges [are] squeezed into each 59oz container.” But according to Lewis, PepsiCo Inc. processes their juice extensively, and adds chemical aroma and flavours that change the juice’s “essential nature” and extend shelf life.

For its part, Tropicana has issued a statement that it “remains committed to offering great-tasting 100 percent orange juice with no added sugars or preservatives. We take the faith that consumers place in our products seriously and are committed to full compliance with labeling laws and regulations.”

Dig a bit online and you find that the packaging and advertising claims of other well known brands have also been challenged with class action suits, including Old Orchard, Welches White Grape Juice, Ben and Jerry’s All Natural Ice Cream and Quaker oats.

Now I don’t think it’s surprising that companies make claims about their products being natural, after all this is what people want. And companies are in business to give us that.

With a “premium” product, Tropicana can profit from the public’s desire for natural products, and charge a premium price.

The problem is that natural is not a regulated term like organic or certified organic. It’s the public that seems to think that natural is some kind of guarantee of quality. It is not.

Natural doesn’t mean anything in the food industry … except that we may be more likely to buy it.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this case.