File Under Ewww!

by Sherri Koehler on September 17, 2008

The NYTimes has an article up about the surge in what the food industry labels, “functional foods”. Particularly noted are some products that will be appearing at a mega-mart near you soon, Tropicana Healthy Heart orange juice and Wonder Headstart bread, which will contain omega-3 oils from anchovies and sardines. Yep, you read that right, fishy OJ and Wonderbread.

Add hidden fish to all the ways in which animal ingredients are snuck into commonplace food. Especially becuase this keeps happening in foods where one would think of checking to see if there are animal ingredients. I mean orange juice for cryin’ out loud! Who’d think of checking that for fish? Especially if you’re served it, without the comfort of the packaging there to reassure you.

Not only from a vegan perspective, but from an allergen one as well. What happens if some kid is served a nice glass of orange juice with breakfast after a sleep over at a friends house and falls over in anaphylactic shock. Everyone knows the kid is allergic to fish, but this is juice so no one thought to prevent the child from consuming it.

Ugh! It also just really irritates me the ways in which people are trying to compartmentalize all the compounds in food, so called “nutraceuticals”. In turn this gives rise to businesses dedicated to the extracting, microencapsulating, in order to sell it to Tropicana to mix into orange juice devoid of any fishy taste or smell but chock-full of “heart healthy” fish oil!

There’s just so many ways in which I find this wrong. That we’re putting fish into juice, that we’re focusing on micronutrients while not looking at the terribly complex way real food is digested by real people, and that doesn’t even get around to the ways in which companies can claim food will offer some health benefit merely so people will consume more.

Ewww, indeed. Real food, that’s what people need; tasty, in healthful proportions, and prepared with care.

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