Over Labeling?

By Heather Legg

I came across this today and it gives us some food for thought (no pun intended). Read on from Couriermail.com.

EVEN food allergy experts say Cadbury has gone too far with a plan to slap “contains milk” and “contains nuts” warnings on Whole Nut Dairy Milk chocolate.
London’s The Daily Telegraph reports the famous chocolate maker had gone well beyond its legal requirements to label food containing milk and nuts.
It quoted an Anaphylaxis Campaign spokeswoman who agreed that it seemed the world had “gone mad” on food labeling.

Here’s what they’re saying, yea, no kidding that Whole Nut Dairy Milk Chocolate contains milk and nuts! How far do we have to go? Do strawberry companies need to mark baskets of strawberries with “contains strawberries” or do milk companies need to label the cartons with “contains milk”? Is it because of the litigious society we live in, that labeling has gone this far, or true concern for those with allergies?

I’m afraid that soon labeling won’t mean anything because everyone is going to start listing the “may contains” to the extremes. I mean, sure, anything is possible; it is possible that some sort of allergen slipped into processing or packaging, even handling. And to avoid lawsuits, packagers are going to the extreme of warning because what if in that one freak instance, the item wasn’t labeled.

It makes sense in certain instances to label, say in a chocolate factory where tree nuts are often used in chocolate, to label the chocolate without nuts as “may contain traces of nuts.” Sure, nut dust could get into it. Or perhaps in a pretzel factory that also makes peanut butter pretzels, yes, the manufacturer probably wants to put a warning label on the packages. Maybe in a plant that manufacturers both chicken nuggets and breaded shrimp, sure go ahead and list “processed in a plant that also processes shellfish.” That would be helpful. But shouldn’t the name count for something? I mean, we all know peanut butter contains, well, peanuts. Shouldn’t Cadbury’s whole nut milk chocolate name count for something?

I’ve read that manufacturers do often times add warnings to cover themselves even though the chances of traces are really nill. Those with severe allergies know what to eat, what to stay away from. If there is question, they usually avoid. They use their common sense. If manufacturers start labeling everything what will happen is that the labels will soon mean nothing.

It makes you wonder – when things go too far, the credibility starts to dwindle and what once was a helpful, even life saving measure becomes something ignored, something we become immune to. Common sense, please.

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