Label Madness Monday: Something’s Fishy!

If you lot bought a bunch of soybeans—whether dry out roasted in addition to crunchy, frozen in addition to shelled, or whole edamame all the same inwards the pods—would you lot await to detect whatever tuna fish inwards the package? No, right? Because that would live on only land crazy. I mean, you’re buying beans. You desire beans, non fish. So tell me, then, why at that spot are soybean residues inwards cans of tuna fish! If I’m buying tuna, I desire fish, non beans. They would never think to set fish inwards a packet of beans. So what’s upwards amongst putting beans inwards packages of fish?

Before I bare my fangs in addition to launch into the weekly label offensive, starting fourth dimension allow me laissez passer on Wegmans credit for keeping their cans of tuna to the traditional 6 ounces nosotros all know in addition to love. (Recall from this post that over the final pair of years, the formerly typical 6 ounce tin of tuna has mostly been replaced yesteryear five in addition to 4.5 ounce cans.) So kudos to Wegmans for giving us that extra ounce. (Or, rather, keeping it at what used to live on the normal size instead of shorting us an ounce.) At to the lowest degree we're getting the total amount for our money. But we’ll meet something strange close that coin inwards a piffling bit.

Let’s accept a expression at 2 dissimilar varieties of chunk calorie-free tuna, both sold nether the Wegmans store build label. The first:

Ingredients: tuna, water. Nice! Finally, a nutrient production I would non alone eat, myself, but also recommend to clients without hesitation. It’s almost—almost—enough to restore my faith inwards mass-market foods. And how much does Wegmans accuse us for such simplicity? Let's look:

Look—still 6 ounces! Also, banknote that I’ve circled “No HVP”
on the exceed can. We’ll larn to that inwards a sec.
$1.19 a can, or $3.17 per pound. Not bad! (Back a hundred years agone when I was in the Air Force and shopped at the commissary, most tuna was close 55 cents a can, but I can’t complain. That was the commissary, where things are to a greater extent than oftentimes than non cheaper to laid about with, in addition to it was also a lifetime ago, earlier nutrient prices quintupled seemingly overnight.)

Let's speak close the other matter I circled. “No HVP.” HVP, inwards illustration you’ve never noticed it on a label before, is hydrolyzed vegetable protein. It is a pretty snazzy (read: extremely processed in addition to highly messed with) poly peptide extract of vegetables—almost ever either wheat or soy. (And recall from this post close vegetable oil that I don’t grip amongst classifying soybeans every bit a “vegetable.” Ditto for wheat.) In this case, nosotros know it’s soy. How create nosotros know it’s soy? It’s correct here, on the allergen warning:

Sorry it’s thence blurry. The bottom circle is highlighting:
ALLERGENS: Contains Fish (tuna) in addition to Soy. That's the clue 
that the "vegetable broth" is made from soybeans.

That was the dorsum of this can:

In water? Why yes, water, but also hydrolyzed vegetable poly peptide broth!
Now let’s become dorsum in addition to expression at the cost sticker to meet how much this tin of tuna costs, amongst the add-on of vegetable broth in addition to salt. Hmm. Only 99 cents. Not too shabby! In fact, that’s a damn expert cost for a expert rootage of protein. (I’m referring, of course, to the fish, in addition to non the soy.) Works out to $2.64 per pound. So it’s fifty-fifty cheaper than the starting fourth dimension ane nosotros looked at.


Earlier, I mentioned at that spot was something strange close the coin here. So straightaway nosotros conduct hold to inquire ourselves why Wegmans is hollo for us to pay more for the tuna that has fewer ingredients. Why are nosotros paying more for a tin of tuna in addition to H2O than nosotros are for a tin of tuna, water, salt, in addition to vegetable hydrolyzed soybean broth? I’m all for getting to a greater extent than smasher for your buck, thence commonly I would think it’s a good matter that nosotros larn to a greater extent than for less. But non inwards this case. This would live on similar going to a division store to purchase a novel clothing (or suit, for the gents out there) in addition to the cashier telling you lot your special costs $100, but it’s alone $90 when packaged together amongst a pair of dingy socks. But you lot don’t want the dingy socks! All you lot desire is the prissy dress/suit. You shouldn’t conduct hold to pay more to larn that or pay less and be forced to accept it along amongst something you lot don’t want. Why can’t they only laissez passer on you lot the dress/suit in addition to larn out the old, dingy socks out of it? Why can’t they only laissez passer on us fish in addition to larn out the beans out? (Not that I’m comparison soy to dingy socks [though I’m tempted]. I’m only pointing out the ridiculousness of the situation.)   

The alone argue I tin think of for why the tuna with the HVP is cheaper than the ane without is that soybeans themselves, every bit a raw material, are thence damn inexpensive for nutrient processors. (Even cheaper, apparently, than land water.) As a taxpayer who subsidizes soy agriculture against her will, you’re welcome, Wegmans, you’re welcome.

But the large W isn’t the alone build doing this to us. Most of the to a greater extent than mutual brands you’ll detect conduct hold soy inwards the “canned inwards water” versions. Starkist, Chicken of the Sea, in addition to Bumble Bee all conduct hold soy allergen warnings on their labels.

And every bit for the ones that are canned inwards oil, most of them use…you knew it was coming…soybean oil. 

These don’t usually conduct hold to conduct hold the allergen alarm because the allergenicity of foods is typically caused yesteryear their poly peptide portion. So the HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein, remember) could provoke an allergic response, piece the isolated petroleum is much less probable to. (The illustration to a higher house likely lists the soy alarm because of the broth, rather than the oil.)

Even the brands that proudly proclaim OLIVE OIL on the front end of the label usually comprise soy inwards to a greater extent than or less shape or another. Like this one:

Don’t meet the soy? That’s because it’s non listed inwards the actual ingredients. It’s purpose of the “natural flavors.” And the alone agency for us to know this is to notice the problem after the ingredients where it says, CONTAINS: TUNA, SOY. 


I’ve managed to detect to a greater extent than or less other build also the “no HVP” Wegmans version that contains no soy. It's the store build from Giant. (Giant has the same rear companionship every bit Stop & Shop, thence if S&S is inwards your area, you lot tin detect these there. You’ll notice it’s the same logo.)

No soy. It’s a friggin’ miracle!

The Nature’s Promise problem of organic in addition to “all natural” foods from Giant/Stop & Shop also has no soy. Thank goodness. I gauge they wouldn’t live on able to marketplace position tuna nether a label called Nature’s Promise if it had soy inwards it. I can't think of whatever fourth dimension inwards nature when fish flesh would comprise soybeans. 

It’s similar a tropical oasis inwards a desert wasteland of tuna.

And, of course, at that spot are plenty of smaller companies putting out products amongst zip crazy inwards them:

There is such beauty inwards simplicity!

I’ll larn out you lot amongst ane to a greater extent than idea today: With the increasing popularity of vegetarian in addition to vegan diets these days, nutrient processors would never, ever think to set tuna fish inwards a packet of soybeans. So why are omnivores non shown the same respect? Just because I conduct house to swallow tuna in addition to I conduct house to swallow beans (although really rarely) doesn’t hateful I ever desire to swallow them together. Plus, soy is ane of the most mutual nutrient allergies. In fact, that’s why they’re required to telephone band attending to it on labels. The same, of course, is truthful for fish. So let’s tell there’s mortal out at that spot whose torso does only fine on fish but has a raging soy allergy. Unless they actually scrutinized to a greater extent than or less of these labels, they could larn into serious physiological trouble. And you lot could hardly blame them. They shouldn’t have to read labels looking for hidden soy inwards their canned fish, BECAUSE CANNED FISH SHOULDN’T HAVE ANY FREAKING SOY IN information technology ANYWAY.

Class dismissed.

P.S. For to a greater extent than on only what the heck hydrolyzed vegetable poly peptide is, cheque out this awesome post yesteryear J. Stanton over at (It's worth checking out. Just similar other forms of soy, gluten, in addition to vegetable oil, it's inwards darn close everything.) 
P.P.S. Okay, honestly, this whole vegetable broth inwards tuna matter isn't that big a deal. After all, most of us are draining off all that liquid earlier nosotros swallow the tuna anyway. So the amount of HVP nosotros would terminate upwards eating is miniscule. Even so, I stand upwards yesteryear my argument: there's no argue to set soy inwards tuna.

Remember: Amy Berger, M.S., NTP, is non a doc in addition to , LLC, is non a medical practice. The data contained on this site is non intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or preclude whatever medical condition.

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Label Madness Monday: Something’s Fishy!
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