Truth In Labeling: You Just Never Know
By Nancy Mehlert, MS
Here is a great example of the uncertainty of ingredient labels and the fact that manufacturers have a great deal of leeway regarding what they put on the label.
In March 2016, I spotted this product (Left) and while “ Made in China” gave me pause, my confidence was regained when I saw the Non GMO Project Certification, USDA Organic Certification and the Certification as a Gluten Free Product.
The label read, Ingredients: Organic Black Beans. Manufactured on shared equipment and may contain trace soy. (Right)
That did not surprise me since their other products on the same shelf included soy pasta, specifically an edamame pasta. Nevertheless, I was aware of the many health benefits of black beans including the obvious high fiber content and the protein was surprisingly good (this should have been my first clue!), so I gave it a try. It was very good, and the texture was very much like wheat pasta. We decided to recommend it to our patients and, while not everyone loved it, many did.
Last week, (February 28, 2019), I picked up another box and noticed (since I’m always looking) there has been an interesting change on the package ingredients.
Now it reads, Ingredients: Organic black beans (black soybeans). Contains soybeans. (Left)
It tastes the same and looks the same. Price is the same. What I suspect now is that it has ALWAYS been soybeans. Who knew there were black soybeans? And why didn’t the manufacturer say that in the first place? Soy is a highly allergenic food for many people. I wonder if they had a few complaints? Who knows what else we don’t know about this food product?
It is in a box. It is a processed food product. And it was not what we thought it was. I’m glad lettuce is lettuce and an apple is an apple. I’m sticking with real, whole food. Let’s all do that, shall we?
Be well. Choose well. Eat well.