Let Them Eat (genetically engineered) Cake

About the food industry, not in a nice way

A food industry lie: “Clean Labels”

Posted by jeanne on July 28, 2007

Ever since consumers started complaining about the rising use of MSG and other adulterants in processed foods, the food industry has sought to hide its presence.

Now they’ve started using ‘clean labels‘, ingredient labels that don’t mention MSG and other undesirable food additives, so that the consumer will think (mistakenly) that their food is made from ‘real ingredients’.

This is an attempt by traditional food industry manufacturers to jump on the natural and organic food bandwagons, where customers expect minimally processed, no-pesticide, no-antibiotic, no-chemical food, just like you’d grow in your garden.

In the words of one food-industry website (foodnavigator.com)

“This is significant because functional foods are more appealing when terms that consumers already perceive to be good for them are used. Natural-sounding ingredients carry more clout than scientific-sounding ingredients that may not yet have entered consumer consciousness.

Because processing food reduces its nutritional content, as well as its taste and texture, manufacturers struggle constantly to reintroduce things like nutrition and taste into what otherwise might resemble gruel rather than something you’d pay good money to eat. So there is a lot of pressure to shortcut the traditional cooking methods you use in your home kitchen.

To do this, they have to add things, change things, make raw materials strong enough to survive industrial processing methods, industrial baking, freezing, canning, packaging without turning to goo or paste or crumbs.
Because food manufacturers are in business to make money, not food, they take other shortcuts, like using cheaper ingredients and covering them with chemical flavors and flavor enhancers, texturizers and other chemical ingredients to make the food taste like your mom made it. But really, only if your mom is named Jekyll.

They use terms like:

“sumptuous eating qualities consumers crave and the processing advantages food manufacturers require,” “chef-inspired appeal, a simplified ingredients statement and excellent shelf life stability,” and talk about how the product’s “exceptionally clean flavor characteristics also offer manufacturers opportunities for reducing costly ingredients,” and how the product’s “enhanced mouthfeel may enable foodmanufacturers to reduce cream or butter while maintaining acceptability.”

So when you see a so-called “clean label” on the back of a food item, don’t be fooled into thinking the manufacturer is concerned that you eat a healthy, natural, minimally processed product. They’re doing business as usual, with the same shortcuts, but they’ve gone the extra mile to hide it from you.

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