Dumber and Dumber

Many of you will have heard the stories about dumb labels. It’s sometimes hard to work out which end of the chain is the dumbest – the designer or the user – but whatever the reason, it is deemed necessary to state the most obvious facts in the most patronising way possible on many things that you buy.Lidl nuts - in German

Actually, while I was looking for examples, I came across this website with some funny ones. I particularly like the veterinary tablets for someone’s dog, with the warning of drowsiness, and not to drink alcohol or operate heavy machinery after taking them. It’s obvious that they’re mostly American – we aren’t that bad. At least, I didn’t think so until today.

I’ve joked with my local Chinese takeaway before about how their menu warns that Chicken with Cashew Nuts “may contain traces of nuts”. And it is on the subject of nuts – peanuts in fact – that an alert appeared in my inbox today.

The Food Standards Agency announced that Lidl is recalling its Alesto brand of Honey Peanuts because peanuts are not mentioned in English on the packaging. I didn’t realise things had gotten so bad. I mean, Lidl is a German company and much of what it sells comes from non-UK sources. I thought everyone was aware of that. But going a step further, what on earth would someone with a life-threatening food allergy be doing buying something to eat without knowing what was in it? Come on. We’re talking about peanuts here – or “erdnüsse” – the number one killer of humans in the UK, if you believe the media on these things.

And as if this wasn’t bad enough, another warning came through advising that Lidl is recalling its Milbona brand of Fruit Yoghurt due to – wait for it – the presence of undeclared milk! Where the hell do people think yoghurt comes from? Bees?

Food manufacturers are living a nightmare if the number of FSA alerts I see is anything to go by. Not a day passes without recalls due to undeclared milk, eggs, soya, sesame, mustard, wheat, gluten, and so on. Asda even had to do a recall a couple of weeks ago to milk “as an allergen” being incorrectly worded – I’d have though that someone who was likely to explode if they consumed milk would be aware that the word they were looking for on the label was “milk”. But it seems that manufacturers have to provide an encyclopaedic description these days, or face an expensive recall.

Still, I suppose this Lidl thing is all leading nicely toward Brexit and the New British Nationalism (if it ever happens, and let’s hope it doesn’t).

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