Friday, May 2, 2008

What is a foreigner to do? - Warning this is a vent!

The other day I was in the supermarket and noticed various healthy foods -- rice milk, organic foods and other things had little signs that said something like "this product might not be sold after 29 May because of nutrional labeling". When I got to the checkout I picked up a leaflet and read it.

It has left me scratching my head to the stupidity of the government. Oh, I wasn't supposed to say that was I because I am to respect government. Well, you might do the same when you hear what is happening. The current unique mandatory nutrition labelling scheme (everything here is a scheme of some sort but that is a British term) is currently being review by the Legislative Council. There is a exemption for products that sell less than 30,000 units per year. Unfortunately, the exemption will not apply to small volume products that make nutrition claims, such as those that are labelled "transfat-free" (there goes Crisco), "contains omega-3", "25% less fat" (that doesn't bother me because we eat full fat), "low sodium", and "cholesterol-free" to name but a few. That means that healthier products, organic products, and products favoured by ethnic minorities (that would be me -- I never thought of myself as an ethnic minority) may disappear from sale because it will not be economically viable to nutrient test and re-label these products. All of these products already have extensive nutrition labelling that complies with the labelling laws of the country of origin.

That was long and some of it was copied from the leaflet.

So what this means -- I can't buy healthy foods but can continue to buy junk food. I can't buy the baked potato crisps (can you tell those are from the UK), I can't buy organic Wheatabix which is a staple breakfast cereal here. Yikes - yesterday Libbey pumpkin was included on the display of things leaving or possibly leaving. Not sure why.

So the frustration what can I do? I could try stockpiling but really with only 700 sq feet how much of that can I do. There is a petition and I asked if foreigners can sign and I did sign it.

So the challenge is what to do as a foreigner and I don't have the answer.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

That really sucks! I'm sorry you have to deal with that. Big government = bad.