Monday, May 2, 2016

Word of the Month for May 2016: Latent

Just see what you need after you need it
There used to be a time when I was surprised about stuff. Graft, corruption, greed - few things surprise me, anymore.  Take, for example, the story about the latest Parmesan Cheese scandal.  

Seems the FDA recently conducted a raid on Castle Cheese, Inc.  Seems "someone" tipped the FDA onto the fact that Castle Cheese was using wood pulp in its 100% Parmesan Cheese product and passing it off as 100% Parmesan Cheese (and not mentioning that part about using wood pulp).  Turns out the FDA discovered that Castle Cheese was, in fact, adding more than 4% wood pulp to its 100% Parmesan Cheese resulting in a guilty plea by Castle Cheese President, Michelle Myrter, who is facing a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison.  OK, who came up with the name "Myrter." Personally, that sounds faker than a wooden nickel but that's the story and the FDA is sticking to it.

The problem is that consumers don't know that makers of Parmesan Cheese use wood pulp as a filler in their product. While 2-4% is legal:
Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco, was 8.8 percent cellulose, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8 percent, according to test results. Whole Foods 365 brand didn’t list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3 percent. Kraft had 3.8 percent.
While we all need fiber in our diets, it would still be nice if producers actually included what kind of fiber we are eating on the product labels.  Of course, all of this leads us to our word of the month: LATENT.  According to Black's Law Dictionary, LATENT means concealed; dormant (a latent defect).  While LATENT is generally associated with construction defect issues, it has also (more recently) be attributed to consumer laws.  Some great resources where you locate information about consumer laws include:

Yep, there are a whole lot of unscrupulous people out there in producer land.  Good thing there are hard working law Librarians available to help you identify your rights under the law so you can get things moving.