Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vegetable Origin

I often wander around supermarkets looking at product labels. They tell me a lot about how things are sold, and for what most recent and vacuous of reasons.

On this particular day, I was looking a product which claimed to contain only ingredients of vegetable origin. These ingredients included potassium hydroxide (aka 'caustic potash'), polystyrene, and a host of other unlikely substances.

A brief pause for thought, and I realised the claim was perfectly true — all hydrocarbons (many plastics, petroleum, natural gas and so on) are of plant origin. So too are mineral compounds that can be derived from plant ash — sodium and potassium carbonate, bromide salts. And of course, many poisons and harmful and/or addictive drugs.

Indeed, to see a sign saying 'organic', 'of plant origin' or any other sign like that often merely tells the reader that the company producing the stuff is either deluded or thinks you can be too. I had a quick look, and I think that only about 10% of the labels I saw were helpful, healthful and honest.

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