Sunday, 23 June 2013

Reading labels

I suppose if I had followed the advice given to me and my fellow students (although in those far-off days we were called pupils) by the master who taught religious instruction I might have read the back of the car park ticket I mentioned yesterday.  He (our RI teacher) told us we should read everything that came into the house, even if was only the back of the corn flake packet.  I'm sure that if he had been teaching nowadays his advice might be a little different.  Back then I'm sure we didn't receive the avalanche of rubbish that comes through the door nowadays advertising double glazing, solar panels, Chinese and Indian takeaways, pizzas - even travelling knife grinders.  There is just no way I am going to sit down and read every word of the menu for a Chinese takeaway, from the egg noodles through the chop suey and on to the free prawn crackers if your order is more than 25 pence.  Make that £25.  Nor will I read the 78 varieties of toppings available on the pizzas, which they think are the best in town.

That said, we (that is the Old Bat and I) have taken to reading more carefully the labels on foodstuffs since the quack told me I had a 30% chance of getting heart disease and I needed to reduce the level of my cholesterol.  And so it was that I was idling glancing at the nutrition guide on a bottle of semi-skimmed milk.  "Less than 2% fat" it proclaimed in a prominent position on the front of the label.  The label on the bottle of whole milk standing right beside it proclaimed "Less than 3.6% fat".

(Yes, we buy both semi-skimmed milk - for me - and whole milk - for the Old Bat.)

Then I looked at the small print.  On the semi-skimmed: "Typical values per 100ml - Fat 3.6g of which saturates 2.2g".  On the whole milk: "Typical values per 100ml - Fat 3.6g of which saturates 2.3g".

Eh? Should there not be a greater difference?

It was quite obvious, even to me, that the supermarket had a problem with the labels on their semi-skimmed milk.  Presumably, all the labels for that size bottle - the 2 pint bottle - had been printed incorrectly.   I rang the customer help line to let them know.  I'm not entirely convinced that the young lady I spoke to fully appreciated the reason for my call.  She insisted on telling me the nutritional values of semi-skimmed milk despite my assurances that I wasn't greatly interested in knowing what they were (or even are, as I don't suppose there has been any alteration since yesterday) and that the reason for my call was to point out that Asda had a problem.

Granted, this is not exactly earth-shaking, but I know that there are an increasing number of people who absolutely have to rely on buying products that meet certain guidelines - gluten free, for example - and they really do need to read the labels.  But if this label is incorrect, how many more are?

Later:  I have received a phone call from Asda saying that the message has been passed to their buyers but they don't work at weekends so I will hear nothing more until next wee.  By which time I will be in France.


Another picture of that field of poppies.

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