Whenever you visit supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies, mom and pop shop and basically anywhere drinks are sold there is a high chance you are being sold a bottle of mixed drink consisting mainly of water as 100% juice. You might be saying, No way, Not I.
Just for the fun of it, the next time you go to your favourite supermarket or retail shop take a walk down the drinks aisle and look out for any bottle that has 100% Juice written on it. How many say 100% Juice are simply that? Juice.
Shouldn’t be a difficult exercise as these bottles are prominently displayed with the 100% juice conspicuously inviting you to “buy me, I am juice and good for you. I am a bit expensive but juice is expensive.”
Here is a picture I took of three such brands displaying their 100% Juice. There are many more brands that do this practice which some how is common and so wide spread we wonder if they are being regulated.
Of course. The Sales of Goods Act (1979), Fair Trade Commission, The Jamaica Bureau of Standards and the Consumer Affair Commission were created to protect consumers from companies that would dare to imagine much less sell mixed drinks as 100% juice. So we are protected? Right? Wrong?
Let’s check one of these bottles and see. As noticed, clearly written at the front: “Mott’s 100% Apple Juice. What does this mean to you? The bottle of liquid is juice and nothing but juice?
Now let’s check the ingredients which is usually at the back of the bottle and facing the back of the shelf. The ingredients are listed as water, apple juice concentrate and ascorbic acid (vitamin c). Interesting but what is the logic or the intent?
I should also mention that I have seen some Mott’s 100% Juice doing just that. Being just Apple juice. So one wonders even more. Is seeing believing?
CAVEAT EMPTOR VS CAVEAT VENDITOR
In law classes we learnt a Latin term called “Caveat Emptor” which meant “Let the buyer beware”. Simply, consumers are expected to think that businesses are ripped off artists and con men and they (consumers) should deal with businesses accordingly and with great reservations. It was quite common centuries ago. Is it happening now?
Centuries ago, in the Chandelor v Lopus (1603) famous case in the common law of England, a man paid £100 for what he thought was a bezoar stone. This is a stone that forms in animals’ intestinal systems, and was believed to have magical healing properties. The seller said it was a bezoar stone, which turned out to be false. The buyer sued for the return of the £100 purchase price. Should he had got back his money?
The Court held the buyer had no right to his money back, saying “the bare affirmation that it was a bezoar stone, without warranting it to be so, is no cause of action.” The majority of the judges held that the buyer was required to show either that the seller knew the stone was not a bezoar, in which case the seller was liable for deceit, or that the seller had warranted (contractually guaranteed) that the stone was a bezoar, in which case the seller would be liable for breach of warranty. Since the seller in this case was not alleged to have done either of these things, the buyer’s claim failed.
This sad case of sadness continued for centuries but in the late 1970s the concept of caveat emptor was giving way to caveat venditor (let the seller beware). The Sales of Goods Act (1979) and other legislation saw a new paradigm shift with the Courts basically warning sellers that, unless they expressly disclaim any responsibility, they will be held liable if the sold items are found defective or vary from the specifications.
FACTS VS FIGURES?
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 consumers. It is fun for some to get much from none.
At times, being hoodwinked by the supermarket, government and big corporations can be as painful as being ripped off by con men, gun men and three card men down town.
Not saying Mott’s is telling lies. False is different from misleading. It promotes and sells a mixture of water, apple concentrate and ascorbic acid as 100% Apple Juice. How ever, Mott’s did say CONTAIN 100% juice, not that the entire bottle is 100% apple juice. Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.
Let’s look at a 16 ounce bottle of drinks. If Mott’s pours four (4) ounces of 100% apple juice in the bottle along with 12 ounces of water, what does one call the entire mixture of apple juice and water? Apple Juice? Apple Drinks? Watery Apple Juice? Maybe it depends. Tricks in trade? Mischievous in business?
RES IPSA LOQUITOR – THE THING SPEAKS FOR ITSELF.
Another term we learnt in Business law is : “res ipsa loquitor’ – the thing speaks for itself. Fortunately, most companies try to tell us what they are about but they do so using very fine print compared with the large print size for their “puffery”.
In summary, deception and fraud aside, the Bureau of Standards provides that manufacturers should list the ingredients for a product 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. If apple juice is listed first it means that apple juice is the majority of the content. By extension, if apple juice alone is listed, it means ALL of the content is a 100% juice.
Fooling some people some of times can make you Guilty all the time.
In 2011, Naked Juice was forced to retract their claim that their juice was “100% fruit” and “all natural.” The juice company, owned by Pepsi, was actually including ascorbic acid and synthetic sources of fiber in their beverages — proving that “all natural” and #100% can be fairly meaningless buzzwords. The complaint points out that the “front-of-package promises that the product is ‘ALL NATURAL’ and ‘100% JUICE.’
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.
PepsiCo 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. 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.
It begs a possible question: If Pepsi was found guilty, can companies such as Mott’s and RubyKist be challenged?
FACING THE MUSIC: POISON BUT GOOD FOR ME?
At times, we find our selves in less than desirable relationships on many levels. How we handle them depends on many factors. Sometimes we are faced with a dilemma.
Then again, the options are not really many but they are far reaching as it can impact ones behaviour when faced with similar situations. We can continue with the relationship having the comfort in knowing that we know the other party is lying. We can stop the relationship knowing that where honesty, integrity and trust are lost , it is usually for ever.
Interestingly, I was listening to some musical tracks done by my daughter, Aneil, while writing this blog. Couldn’t resist sharing one of them with you. POISON. Not sure why I thought it would be a fitting song to conclude this section with but here goes: POISON: the #3 track on Aneil’s Extended Play was released 2018. Can click here to watch or click on the Picture below
Your love is poison
But oh baby I want it
And oh baby I’m ‘on it’ (ye ey ey ey ey)
Ya take my mind on a roadtrip
My mind can’t behold it
All the tantalizing things that you say.
You do for me what sanity won’t
And that is to be your only girl
In reality it’s so wrong
Because you are already ‘owned’
Your love’s like that drug; can’t get enough
ECG shows my heart all over the charts
You make me wanna ru-u-un, sta-a-ay, fight and rule the world (x2) with you
You make me wanna ru-u-un, sta-a-ay, fight and rule the world (x2) with you.
What to do about us
Can’t believe it got to this
Each day that passes, I need you more
Still I wait for the day, you’ll tell me it’s not okay.
Then I’ll ask why.
You and I have to cool it
Barriers broke down, leaving us bare
My love for you is heightened
My chest tightens at the sight of you
Your love’s like that song; can’t get enough
Put you on replay, I can’t get enough.”