False or Misleading Advertisements and Labels: Who wins?


I am not a fan of fancy jewelry or of designer clothes, fitting for a star or a celebrity that poses.  Neither am I a lover of first class and VIP pass or special made cars that go fast. My friends and family think I am too ordinary and simple while some less charitable folks think it is a situation of “fox calling the grape sour because it cannot get it”. Don’t get me wrong. There are things I fuss about and will kick a tantrum or even cuss about.

For example, food and drink. I am crazy about what I eat and drink. You are what you eat so I try to avoid eating carcass or anything that had a face or brain. I also try to follow the wheat and rice motto: “If it white it not right”. Therefore, I try and avoid white bread, white rice and white sugar. For beverage, I do crave natural juices over mixed drinks.

Yeah. I love natural juices. Imagine 100% juice caressing your taste buds as it gushes down your throat and soothe your thirst. While I won’t pay large sums of money for designer jeans, I don’t mind paying mega bucks for quality juice.

false-advertising-misleading-claimsIn short, I try to eat healthy but it seems the best things in life are not free and are more for the wealthy. So, you can imagine my chagrin when a poor chap like me buys expensive things and get substitutes. Buying leather and getting leatherette or faux. Buying Juice and getting drinks. It is akin to passing off a harlot as a lady.

Here is what happened. I went into a reputable supermarket in Upper St. Andrew, Jamaica. I bought a bottle of 100% juice made by a reputable juice company. Needless to mention, the brand also had a reputation for high price. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I was sold mixed drinks as 100% juice. Are you surprised that I was surprised? Don’t laugh. Chances are you got shafted too.

You see, many times we are misled and even taken advantage of by people and organizations that we would not, even for a minute, expect such behaviour from. The painful part is not that we got shafted as in life we can expect to get used, abused and refused. The hurtful part is when we are taken advantage of by someone or something that we loved, respected and trusted. Yet, it is now so common to be ripped off that regrettably, uncommon is now common and abnormal has become normal.

'What's it to be,gentlemen,-whole lies or half truths?'Yes. It has become such a sport to “exploit” people that many individuals and organizations delve into the art and science of persuading and confusing. It is fun for some to get much from none. They make exaggerated claims and argue it is legal and it is called “puffery” or advertisement.  In Jamaica, we say it is  “tricks in trade and mischievous in business” or simply, bamboozled. Regardless of what they want to call it, an apple by any other name is still an apple. It’s deception.

Fooling some people sometimes

By the way, did I tell you which brand product it was that I bought in a reputable supermarket in a reputable area in upper St. Andrew Jamaica and also in Walmart and in Publix in USA. It is Mott’s: 100% Apple Juice.

Seriously now, who does that? It is more like, who doesn’t do that. A growing number of food and drink companies are labeling their products “all natural” or “100% juice” to attract health-concerned customers in order to improve their bottom line and get in the black. Do you feel deceived though?

Facts Vs Figures

motts 100% 2motts label

Look at the picture and as they taught us in law course, “res ipsa loquitor’ – the thing speaks for itself.

Yes, as you can see the #100%juice is noticeable, big, pronounced, bold, standing tall. It is conspicuously placed at the front of the bottle and can be seen from far away. However, in smaller print, at the back of the bottle, is a list of the contents stating water, apple juice  concentrate and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Wait a minute. The first ingredient is water in a bottle of 100% Apple Juice?  The second ingredient is Apple Juice from concentrate. The third is ascorbic acid. What does this mean? Where is the 100% juice?

Let me quickly share a legal packaging requirement with you: Ingredients for a product should be listed in descending order with the ingredient that is the most, in terms of volume, weight and size, being listed first. Simply put, put the most first.  If water is listed first it means that water is the majority of the content. In a bottle of a 100% apple juice, the only ingredient to be listed is apple juice.

false and misleading labeling reqdIf not, then we need to find a creative way of explaining it such that a child can understand that 100% doesn’t mean ALL, anymore.  Please bear in mind that the label clearly stated, “contains 100% Apple Juice” and elementary school kids know that a 100% of something mean there is nothing else.

Not saying Mott’s, is telling lies. Mott’s did say CONTAIN 100% juice, not that the entire content of the bottle is 100% apple juice. Just that the statement is misleading if not false.

Let’s look at it this way: if Mott’s pour 100% apple juice in the bottle to say a ¼ full and then pour in water for the other ¾, it would not have lied. The bottle does contain 100% juice, albeit, the entire content of the bottle is not 100% juice. This should cover all legal requirements? Right?  Tricks in trade and mischievous in business. Figures don’t lie but liars can figure. Sigh. False or misleading? Well. Hmmm.

Technically, the jury could still be out on this one and in the mean time this “façade” is seemingly being complicity given the green light by regulatory bodies, distributors and even us, as customers. I can understand businesses being crafty to make profits and i know how easy it is to deceive people. What I can’t appreciate is how the regulatory bodies and the distributors seems oblivious or even complicit to this deceptive act.

You see, when I was in college, they taught us Latin terms such as caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) and caveat venditor (let the seller beware). They told us that in the 18th and 19th century, buyers had to be on their Ps and Qs as producers were taking disadvantage of them. In short, ripping them off. Hence the term caveat emptor. Then they taught us that in the 20th century the table turned as sellers now had to be aware  of how they produce and sold goods (caveat venditor). We were taught that legislation such as the Sales of Goods Act, Fair Trade Commission etc. would protect the unsuspecting and maybe “naïve” customers from the power and duplicity of big business. What morons we were.

Took this picture with my phone at a supermarket in St. Andrew, Jamaica. Several brands are touting their drinks as juices.

Of course, there are some Mott’s drinks that are more juice than some but none is 100% juice. As mentioned, many other drinks company are also passing off mixed drinks as Juices. See photo.

The blatant way in which this deception is done makes the devil blush. While many devilish things are done in the dark, these companies exploit us in broad daylight after luring us with advertisements in our own home on television, online and in newspaper.

We know the bottom line for many businesses is profit and it is important to be in the black, but not by fraud and deception. (By the way,  being in the black or making a profit is one of the few times the word “black” is use in a positive sense. If you are making a loss, then you are said to be in the red).

Of course, there are some companies that do have morals and value Honesty, Integrity and Trust. As such, they not only say it, but make it. In Jamaica, one such company is Orijin, which as we say in Jamaica , “a the real thing”. Their label says 100% juice and their list of ingredients back up the claim. No water.

In the USA, Naked Juice is also a really fruity juice. They too are 100% juice but I need to tell you the naked truth about what happened to them back in 2011.  Naked Juice is made by Pepsi Co Inc and they were sued for claiming there juice was All Natural.

Orijin juicenaked juice

Guilty as charged.

Here is the facts of the “real news”. In 2011, Naked Juice was forced to retract their claim that their Naked juice was “100% fruit” and “all natural.” The juice company was actually including ascorbic acid (vitamin c) and synthetic sources of fiber in its beverages — proving that “all natural” and #100% juice can be fairly meaningless buzzwords.   The complaint points out that the “front-of-package promises that the product is ‘ALL NATURAL’ and ‘100% JUICE.’ (Sounds familiar?)

It was held by the Court that a reasonable consumer would not assume that defendants were being deceptive and would not know to read the very-fine-print ingredient label.

Naked juice labelPepsiCo Inc. agreed to settle for a $9 million lawsuit where each customer could receive up to US$75 in accordance to the company’s false, misleading and deceptive advertisements. They also dropped the “ALL NATURAL” claim from their labels.

Other companies, such as Kashi and General Mills Inc. faced identical disputes for using GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, while claiming to be #100percent natural and containing no artificial ingredients.

Facing the music

As Albert Einstein once said, The world is a dangerous place; not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.

I must agree, there have been changes in the ways that businesses operate today and we are and should be thankful for the Fair Trade Commissions and other legislation. However, it is hard to accept a bottle of ¼ juice and ¾ water being sold as a bottle of 100% juice.

If Pepsi was forced to change their labels and advertising for their Naked Juice, this precedent could and should be applied to other companies that are passing off mixed drinks as 100% juice. Just change the label…. and the price. 

You know what they also taught in college. The customer is king and is always right. Fortunately, I was going through my recurring moments of truancy and had missed class that day so I didn’t learned it. I am glad I didn’t. Which King? Consumers are vagabonds.

If consumers are vagabonds, what are big businesses that exploit vagabonds? There is no winner.


false and misleading adsI now hope that you are faced with the dilemma of keeping quiet, not rocking the boat and continue enjoying a “watery” bottle of 100% Apple Juice or kicking a tantrum like a spoil child whose parents are not giving him or her juice after he or she had asked for it.

Not that one should be distrustful of companies, supermarkets and government and become ardent advocate and  #startamovement against false and misleading advertisement, but ignorance is not bliss nor is it an excuse at law.

As you have seen, reputable organizations  do tell “lies” and call it advertisement and marketing. That prompted this blong as I am very uncomfortable of big business or people taking advantage of the poor and meek, because I am poor. I also detest the idea of so call advertisers making false or misleading claims and calling it marketing as I am a chartered marketer.

In fact, marketers are sworn to a strict code of ethics that prohibit them from lying and making false claims.  We embrace the values of Honesty, Integrity and Trust (HIT). We become substandard and unworthy to be called marketers if we do deceptive practices.

For the fun of it, put the first letter in substandard (S) in front of the elements of good value (HIT) and you will find out the messy position you can be in if you lie.

It is true that figures don’t lie but liars can figure and it is easy to deceive but there is no real winner. Indeed, in 1983, I had a book of my poems published titled “VIEW” and one of the poems in it is called SOUL FREE. One verse goes like this:

If 6 was the same as 9, we would not need to choose.                                                              You may trick me and win, when you trick love you lose.

You may read the full poem in my blog called ” Slices of Love”: Simply click “Slices of love”.

Clifton “NOTCLIF” Neil is a “blonger” (blogs long), chartered marketer and university lecturer in marketing. Contact at cneil@wordfoodmusic.com. 

WFM logo_concepts coloured orihinal 2 label purpose


Trying Meat: To eat or not to eat?


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As a child, I grew up tall and skinny and a lover of meat. (Meat doesn’t necessarily make you fat neither does lack of meat makes you lean).  I remember my mom’s cooking with fondness and even salivate remembering my teeth ripping through the tasty sumptuous chicken, curried goat, oxtail, and fish which was my favourite dish. The bones didn’t get away either. It was so tasty that I use to lick my lips, lick my fingers and if mom was not looking, licked the plate too. To make matters worse, in elementary school we were reminded that not only is meat tasty, it is also nutritious. It is an easy ready source of nutrients such as protein and Vitamin B12. Those were the days.

Sigh. Then I grew up and start to take life more seriously: worrying about the meaning of life; who we are; what we are and many things that teenager ponder as they transit from child to adult. Fortunately or unfortunately, as a young teen, my friends were older and in their late 20s and embracing the conscious roots, Rasta 1970s Jamaican vibes. Back then trimming, eating meat and holding black people in bondage were seen as Babylon and ungodly.

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As such, my friends influence let me began to see that “to rise, kill and eat” was barbaric, inhumane and nonsensical. So as the Desiderata said, I did “Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth”. Saul (Paul) said,  in 1 Corinthians 13:11, When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

I gave up meat in 1995 (with the exception of fish) and I am still tall and skinny. I must admit that the only problems I have with being a vegetarian are that it is costly (the best things in life are expensive); it is hard to get a meal as most restaurants sell flesh (do not follow a multitude to do wrongs) and it is a daily test of will and commitment (many are called, few are chosen).

However, it was easy for me not to eat flesh as I had questions about our mental, physical, social and intimate being in relation to what/who we eat, when we eat, how we eat, where we eat,  and why we eat.  We are what we eat.Image result for benefits of  meat einstein ghandi

Here is the “beef” with vegetarianism that prompt this blog. I discovered that today’s wo/man needs a very important nutrient called vitamin B12. That’s cool. No problem. Get it.

Now,  here is the dilemma. It is found mainly in animals and is not in most commonly eaten vegetables and fruits.

You got to be kidding me!!!!! Give me a phone line to God. This needs a big explanation as I thought that wo/man in its ideal form do not spill blood or eat meat yet vitamin B12 is mainly in animals. (See Genesis 1. 29 and the biblical perspective at end of this blog for details).


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I don’t know if this discovery would bother you or even you ever find yourself wondering if we should eat meat? how does it affect who we are  and is it wicked and sinful? This is an interesting and maybe provocative topic but I have nevertheless delved into it and am sharing some arguments in support and some against meat eating. A biblical perspective is attempted at the end.


Kris Gunnars, BSc in her article, 7 Reasons Not to Avoid Meat at https://authoritynutrition.com/7-evidence-based-health-reasons-to-eat-meat/ has this to say about the topic.

 1. We Can Function Eating Both Plants and Animals

The truth is that humans have evolved from herbivores to omnivores and our digestive systems have adapted to make use of the fats, proteins and nutrients found in animal foods.

2. Meat Contains Nutrients

High quality, unprocessed meat is high in many nutrients. A 100 gram portion (3.5 ounces) of raw ground beef contains vitamin B12, B3 (Niacin), B6, iron, zinc, selenium and various other vitamins and minerals. (It would take a much more sizeable amount of plant matter to produce an equivalent amount of nutrients).

Vitamin B12 is particularly important because it cannot be got from commonly consumed plants. Many people who avoid animal foods are deficient in it. (This is scary for vegans  as very low B12 intakes can cause anemia and nervous system damage. The only reliable vegan sources of B12 are foods fortified with B12 (including some plant milks, some soy products and some breakfast cereals) and B12 supplements.

Vegans have countered that B12 was an issue requiring no special attention as it is in some plants, or even an elaborate hoax. They proposed specific foods, including spirulina, nori, tempeh, and barley grass, as suitable non-animal sources of B12.

3. Meat Doesn’t Raise Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease or Diabetes

Studies now show that saturated fat in the diet is not linked to heart disease, however, these studies found a significantly increased risk for processed meat. Seems if you want to avoid chronic disease, then it makes sense to avoid processed meat as much as possible but unprocessed meat seems to be fine they claim.

4. Meat Contains High Quality ProteinImage result for benefits of  meat einstein ghandi

Proteins are long strings of amino acids that are linked together and folded into complex shapes protein is important for bone health. There are about 9 amino acids that we cannot produce and must get from our diet. In this regard, animal proteins is given the edge over many plant proteins but easy doesn’t make it right.

5. There is Only a Very Weak Correlation With Cancer

There are some studies showing a link between red meat and cancer but new studies seem to be suggesting that while it is true that processed meat strongly correlates with increased cancer risk, the same is not true for unprocessed red meat. That being said, it is possible that the way meat is cooked has an effect, because carcinogens can form when meat is cooked excessively. For this reason, it is important to use gentler cooking methods and cut away all burnt or charred pieces.


Michelle McMacken, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine physician and an assistant professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine. According to her, http://www.forksoverknives.com/7-things-that-happen-when-you-stop-eating-meat/, people go plant-based for lots of reasons. These include losing weight, feeling more energetic, reducing the risk of heart disease, and decreasing the number of pills they take. She also touted the flowing reasons not to eat meat:

  1. You’ll reduce inflammation in your body.

Eating meat, cheese, and highly processed foods elevate the levels of inflammation in your body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases, among other conditions. In contrast, plant-based diets are naturally anti-inflammatory, because they are high in fiber, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients, and much lower in inflammatory triggers like saturated fat and endotoxins (toxins released from bacteria commonly found in animal foods).

  1. Your blood cholesterol levels will plummet.

Saturated fat—primarily found in meat, poultry, cheese, and other animal products—is a major driver of our blood cholesterol levels which is a key risk factor for heart disease and strokes, two of the leading killers in the United States. Cholesterol in our food also plays a role.

Whole-food, plant-based diets reduce blood cholesterol because they tend to be very low in saturated fat and they contain zero cholesterol. Moreover, plant-based diets are high in fiber, which further reduces blood cholesterol levels.

  1. You’ll give your microbiome a makeover.Image result for einstein on meat

The trillions of microorganisms living in our bodies are collectively called the microbiome. Not only do they help us digest our food, but they produce critical nutrients, train our immune systems, turn genes on and off, keep our gut tissue healthy, and help protect us from cancer.

Plant foods help shape a healthy intestinal microbiome. The fiber in plant foods promotes the growth of “friendly” bacteria in our guts. On the other hand, fiber-poor diets (such as those that are high in dairy, eggs, and meat) can foster the growth of disease-promoting bacteria such as obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease.

  1. You’ll dramatically reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.

Animal protein, especially red and processed meat, has been shown in study after study to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Several reasons: animal fat, animal-based (heme) iron, and nitrate preservatives in meat have been found to damage pancreatic cells, worsen inflammation, cause weight gain, and impair the way our insulin functions

You will dramatically lessen your chances of getting type 2 diabetes if you eat whole grains, which are highly protective against type 2 diabetes. Also, a plant-based diet can improve or even reverse your diabetes if you’ve already been diagnosed.

  1. You’ll get the right amount—and the right type—of protein.

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Meat is an easy rich source of protein and this strength is its weakness and danger. Contrary to popular perception, this excess protein does not make us stronger or leaner. Excess protein is stored as fat or turned into waste, and animal protein is a major cause of weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, and cancer.

On the other hand, the protein found in whole plant foods protects us from many chronic diseases.

  1. Huge impact on the health of our planet and its inhabitants.

Animal agriculture has led to many development and improvements in the type of life of man. It has led us to save time that went into a shift from being nomadic to city building; creation of industries and the use of food, cosmetics and clothing from animal. However, animal agriculture is extremely destructive to the planet. It is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and is a leading cause of land and water use, deforestation, wildlife destruction, and species extinction. The current food system, based on meat and dairy production, also contributes to world hunger—the majority of crops grown worldwide go toward feeding livestock, not feeding people.

Image result for quotes on meat einstein ghandiEqually important, animals raised for food are sentient beings who suffer and know pain. Eating a plant-based diet helps us lead a more compassionate life. After all, being healthy is not just about the food we eat; it’s also about our consciousness—our awareness of how our choices affect the planet and all of those with whom we share it.


Phase 1 – pure man

In Genesis 1.29-30 we read:  Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. (NIV).

In short, man at the beginning of creation, while in its righteous and sinless state was commanded to be a vegetarian. This would suggest that man’s body was made to be herbivores and the need for canine to rip flesh was not necessary.

Phase 2 – Fallen man

Then, after Man became vile and sinful, and after the Flood, in Genesis 9.1-5 we read: Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal.” (NIV)

It appears after the Flood, permission was given to eat meat and man’s body evolved into omnivores. (This is where I think that the need for Vitamin B12 start to evolve).

Phase 3 –  Laws

Then after the Israelites came out of Egypt and were trying to be a bit more righteous, Moses said God told him that the new order would be as follows: Leviticus 11: The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud. The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.

Phase 4 – Modern man

The bible has been silent on the eating of meat since the Moses laws. However, many verses in the New Testament have been quoted to “legalize” the eating of blood and unclean animals such as pigs, rabbits and dogs but none is a commandment of God.

For example, a popularly quoted verse, Acts 10 is used because in it God said “Rise, kill and eat as nothing I have cleansed is unclean or common”. In fact this was a vision and was simply preparing Peter for the meeting with the Centurion, who was a gentile. (The Old testament taught that all non Israelite were unclean, inferior and were dogs). Can you believe that?

It is true. That is why the Apostle Peter was given the vision so he no longer hung on to such bigotry and racism. “[Acts 10:7-16. He recognized its meaning when the gentile Cornelius invited him to dinner the very next minute after the vision. At  Cornelius’ dinner, Peter related to his hosts, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit any one of another nation; but God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean “.  Peter then baptized the first gentiles (non-Israelites) God called into the Church who were not initially Jewish proselytes (Acts 10:45-48). (The analogy of unclean meat to clean meat is to do with human beings).

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As was seen, science, the bible and expediency of survival taught us it is okay to eat meat. On the other hand, science, religion and expediency have taught us it is not okay and maybe even sinful to eat animals. Seems there is no clear winner.

Meat is a ready and cheap form of nutrition and it has allowed man to switch from nomadic societies to domestication of animals and the creation of great towns and cities. None of that, of course, means that increased meat consumption—or any meat consumption at all—is necessary for today’s’ man.

Maybe with the increased wars, lack of brotherly love and the breakdown of basic morality, not eating meat may reverse these tendencies. After all, quality of life should be measured by how we treat the poor, less fortunate and dumb creatures. I am sure ALL animals would give vegetarianism a YES vote. Although it might seem trivial, animals are our friends and co partners and should not be our dinner.

I am still puzzled why B12 is not readily available in common plants but realize that the need for Vitamin B12 is evolutionary as man switched from being a herbivore to Omnivore. For example, did you know that science claims that the Brown Bear over thousands of years underwent evolutionary change and became the Polar bear? Surviving the harsh polar environment of cold and no plants resulted in molars becoming canine and skin coat change to white to fit the snow.  It seems we are what we eat so would we live to eat, or eat to live. .

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Before you eat your next meal of sweet savoury delectable meat, don’t selfishly think of the rich source of nutrition you are getting. Instead think of the horror those farm animals faced when they noticed that the man that raised them, took care of them, and protect them, has turned around and killed them. Maybe the eating of  this “horror” meat is the reason we are what we are. Callous, inhumane and sick.

Summarily, meat eating is a choice but its outcome is a consequence. So, as we rush in where even angels fear to tread remember that the way that seems easy wide and fully lit might be the way to destruction.

Solomon sums it up neatly in Ecclesiastes 12 vs 13 – 14.

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The commandment that instruct us to eat royally and in harmony with life is in the first chapter of the first book of “our” bible and suffice to say, “As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end”.

Gen 1 vs 29. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat…….And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.