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The Madera Tribune

Food labels are helpful, sort of

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webmaster | 10/02/12

One of the things I've appreciated over the years is how food labeling has improved. When you pick up a packaged food and look at the label, you will be able to see how many servings it contains, how many calories each serving has, and what goes into making the product.

Now, we are seeing fast-food restaurants and some chain-owned sit-down restaurants post the calories of their products and their meals, and that, too, is a good thing. For example, one can learn that a plain waffle only has a few calories -- maybe only 250 or so, which might fit one's diet. But when you add syrup, or fruit, and a couple of pieces of bacon and a couple of eggs over medium, the diet runs out the door and down the road.

The information is not meant to scare diners, but to let them know what they are getting into, or what is getting into them.

Food processors and restaurateurs haven't always appreciated having to prepare and display these labels. Of course, if your product is low in calories, and you are selling that as a benefit, you may eagerly offer the label to help your sales.

For example, if you are selling fresh mushrooms, you might be happy to post they are low in calories, but you may shy away from telling about another product they contain: horse manure compost. Yes, most mushrooms are grown in compost, and the best compost often is inoculated with horse manure.

But people don't like to be reminded of that. By the way, there's nothing wrong with horse manure compost or any other growing medium that meets the requirements of the food and drug people. But you are won't find it on the label. All you will find is "wash before using," which probably is the best advice you can get on any food.

The labels don't tell all, nor could they.


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