Suggested Serving

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency requires the placement of the words “suggested serving” on food packaging where a picture shows one possible way to use or consume the food in the package. Officially, the requirement is:

On a vignette which illustrates a food that is not part of the package and could be misleading to consumers, the words “Suggested Serving” shall be placed in proximity to the vignette. This indicates that the vignette provides a serving suggestion and does not represent the exact content of the package.

Really? Are there really people out there who look at a box of cereal and expect to find milk and raspberries in there with the Cheerios? I imagine that these are the same people for whom the warning “Contents may be extremely hot” is required on a coffee cup.

John Williams of Frog’s Leap Winery in California managed to persuade the authorities that have to approve labeling that it’s not frivolous to mark the bottom of his wine bottles with a sage precaution: Open Other End. In fact, when the authorities asked him to remove the warning, he asked them provide a waiver indicating that Frog’s Leap was not responsible in the event that anyone injured themselves opening the bottle from the bottom. The authorities balked and the warning remains. Strangely, the warning has not (yet) become a requirement on all wine bottle labels.

All of this to illustrate the sad lack of personal responsibility in today’s world. How can we expect people to be responsible citizens when we don’t even trust them to drink a hot cup of coffee? Or worse, when we enable irresponsible folks to blame and sue others for their carelessness or naïveté?

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