What You See Isn't What You Get: labels lie

When you buy that “organic” bread, is it really organic? A years ago I worked for coffee shop where the owners’ family grew their own coffee. He told me how the organic coffee label is more about affording to pay for it than about it actually being organic. A while back you may have heard about Starbucks having “fairtrade” coffee. That’s also a bit of a lie.

Tyson has also been pulling a fast one on people. They’ve labeled food as free of antibiotics, but an AP article says that they define free of antibiotics as an “absence of any antibiotic believed to affect humans.” Clearly, that is not how most people would define free of antibiotics. Now Tyson it will “‘voluntarily withdraw’ advertising and labels claiming that its poultry products don’t contain antibiotics, after a federal court issued an injunction stopping the practice.” (AP) Apparently the word “voluntarily” is being used here in a way similar to “free from antibiotics.”

But it doesn’t stop there. Who is it that is protecting the consumers? The USDA of course right? Wrong. They claim to have “overlooked” the antibiotic additives in Tyson’s chicken. It is the “Truthful Labeling Coalition” that saved the day. But who are the people behind this heavenly defender? Perdue and Sanderson Farms, of course. Perdue claims to have lost $10 million, and Sanderson Farms $4 million, because of the campaign. Yet another “consumer protection group” that isn’t as much about protecting consumers as it is about protecting businesses.

Today’s moral. Labels lie, whether they are food label or advocacy groups. Caveat emptor. Be sure to do as much research as you can.