January 27, 2014

Lipton tea without sugar contains sugar

Filed under: Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 1:59 pm

lipton-tea-evan-amosIrony is alive! Lipton is currently running an ad campaign on TV with Dutch beauty Nicolette van Dam telling her fake mother how ‘regular’ their regular tea is and therefore still tasty. Their regular tea however is anything but regular, Keuringsdienst van Waarde discovered.

Presumably when Lipton says ‘regular’ it means ‘tastes just like the competition’s’, but consumer watchdog Keuringsdienst van Waarde seemed to suspect something more devious going on. They found little clumps of something that tasted like chewing gum (the flavour expert they consulted narrowed it down to Bazooka—man, that word is a time machine!) hidden among the tea.

After half an hour of fruitless phone calls and visiting experts—the tea expert explained that tea is made of leaves, not of clumps—the solution to the mystery was presented. Lipton apparently adds sugar to its tea to mask its mediocre (perhaps we should say ‘regular’) flavour. So that is how you can drink tea, no sugar, with sugar after all.

(I wrote down the adjectives in the Lipton commercial by the way, here they are: regular, regular, regular, good, lekker, lekker, regular, lovely, rich, smooth.)

(Photo by Evan Amos who released it into the public domain)

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September 2, 2008

McDonald’s denies “cheese crime” allegations

Filed under: Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 11:30 am

In an episode broadcast last week the children’s version of consumer watchdog show Keuringsdienst van Waarde reported that many fast-food chains use fake cheese for their meals, what the voice over calls “cheese crime”. The programme’s test centre revealed that the “cheese” of a McDonald’s Cheeseburger contains “30% non-cheese elements.” McDonald’s and New York Pizza responded quickly and denied the allegations. McDonald’s said that to the contrary, it was the TV show that was misleading, not the American snack food giant.

So-called cheese analogues are used to emulate cheese in a wide range of products, such as pizzas, cheese soufflés, hamburgers and so on. As one manufacturer put it: “[Cheese analogue] is to cheese what margarine is to butter.” And another: “A real analogue does not contain any cheese at all.”

Cheese-substitute is often mixed with cheese waste, so that you cannot tell from the obligatory ingredients list that there’s cheese-substitute in a product. The Consumentenbond, a consumer rights organisation, thinks that is irrelevant. It said that creating a false impression of what’s in your products is illegal too according to Dutch law.

The video is mostly in Dutch, but because a number of the larger cheese analogue producers are in the UK and the US, some of the most revealing quotes are in English (starting at 05:10).

See also:

Via Zibb.nl (Dutch).

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April 8, 2007

No conviction for self-proclaimed chocolate criminal

Filed under: Food & Drink,Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 12:17 am

tony_chocolonely.jpgOn Thursday the criminal court in Amsterdam threw out a case against reporter Teun van de Keuken for complicity in slavery. Van de Keuken, who co-hosts a consumer advocacy show on TV called ‘Keuringsdienst van Waarde’ (a pun referring to the Dutch Food and Drug Administration), instigated the case against himself after eating a number of chocolate bars that he claimed were produced by slaves. During the case, the court heard testimony of a former slave who was forced to work on a cocoa plantation when he was a child.

The case was dismissed on technical grounds, since Van de Keuken himself was not a harmed party, and therefore could not initiate the prosecution against himself. Van de Keuken is now contemplating a civil suit.

Van de Keuken started his own guaranteed slave-free chocolate brand two years ago called Tony’s Chocolonely, using cocoa produced by Ghana’s Kuapa Kokoo co-op. The chocolate bars were made in co-operation with Dutch fair trade company Max Havelaar.

Earlier this year, Van de Keuken was sued unsuccessfully by chocolate importer Bellissimo Foods, who claimed that it is impossible to produce slave-free chocolate. Irony is dead.

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