By Zev Steen
Here’s an easy game to play; here’s an easy thing to say. - Fox in Socks, Dr. Seuss
While eating fish sticks recently, I noticed something on the food ingredient panel that made me realize what types of games companies can play while still conforming to the letter of the law.
I wondered if fish was really the main ingredient in that brand of fish stick. Taste told me otherwise. To solve the mystery I turned the box over to look at the ingredient panel. By law, ingredients must be listed in order of content amount. The first ingredient, while it may not be the majority of all other ingredients combined, will be greater than each of the following ingredients.
Here is the ingredient panel.
Minced Pollock is the first ingredient. This means there is more fish than any other single ingredient. Then I noticed the second ingredient is Wheat Flour and the fifth ingredient is Enriched Wheat Flour.
While there is more fish than either Wheat Flour or Enriched Wheat Flour, it is very possible there is more flour than fish in the fish stick as a whole. Now, I don’t know if the manufacturer purposely enriched some of the flour so it could be listed separately to allow the fish to be listed first or not, but it does show the kind of game a company can play to bump certain items to the front of the list.