The following editorial appeared Monday in the Kansas City Star:
While Congress wrestles with the politics of a new Farm Bill, we can't resist noting the politics of food packaging.
Take a simple bag of chips. Some of us do, we admit, on occasion indulge in that guilty pleasure.
But not all chips are created alike. You have to read the fine and not-so-fine print to appreciate the difference.
Here's a favorite: A chip that is gluten-free, kosher, made with non-GMO potatoes, non-GMO sunflower oil, cholesterol free, with no trans fat and no MSG.
Wow. One might think it's a super food.
But wait. As the package intones, there's more goodness here.
Our rosemary and olive oil chip bag proclaims its charitable commitment. "We enthusiastically support various nonprofit organizations by highlighting a different charity on every flavor of (XXX) snacks. (We're blurring the company name to protect the innocent and not give it an unfair advantage in the minds of shoppers). If this charity resonates with you, please consider helping their cause!"
Then the charity appears, with a helpful QR image, allowing eaters to drag out their smartphones, scan and learn more, while also collecting coupons for good measure.
Almost forgot one more claim: It's produced in a certified nut-free facility.
Politically, this wee bag of chips is beyond reproach. That is, until you get to the part about 140 calories, 11 percent of your recommended daily allowance of fat, and 10 percent of your recommended sodium allotment.
And that's for just one of the two servings in the bag, or 12 chips! Really, who eats just 12 politically perfect chips?
Not us. We wolfed down the whole bag, and then felt guilty. Just not as guilty had it not been so pure.
Keep reading those labels. It's educational and sometimes quite entertaining.