RE: accuracy in packaging

Subject: RE: accuracy in packaging
From: Itowsley -at- aol -dot- com
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 15:55:39 EDT

Ok, I feel I have to speak up about this. (Sorry, Eric, if this is

There is a very good reason for the "May Contain Traces of Peanuts." on all
sorts of packages. People have DIED from unlabeled foodstuffs that were
processed and packaged in the same factory as peanut containing foods even
though the food did not have peanuts listed as an ingredient. Peanuts are
also called Beer Nuts, by the way. Some uneducated - not stupid -
individuals would mistake those for safe foods.

FAN, Food Allergy Network, worked very hard to get those warning labels. (I
have SEVERE allergies, I can die from the smell of popcorn - yeah, just the
smell.) I rely on the accuracy of food labeling - an aspect of technical
writing with major legal ramifications - to buy foods that I can safely eat.

I would much rather the overkill so no one dies. Yes, people really die. I
have spent a great deal of time learning about food sciences due to my
allergies, much of the information is highly technical and difficult to
parse. Learning food science is not possible for everyone with allergies,
they don't have the education, intelligence (sorry for being politically
incorrect), time, or energy to do it.

It is our responsibility to these users to provide accurate information -
even when it seems downright silly - just as much as you would a computer
software user.


Melissa L. Owsley

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