Beans in the Reader's Digest

An article I wrote for the Western Standard has been picked up by the Reader's Digest (Canadian edition for sure, maybe the American one as well. pp. 139-140) and published this month with the title, "They count beans, don't they?" under the section, "That's Outrageous!"

Read the original Western Standard story entitled: Bean counters get literal (PDF).

The basic story is this: British baked beans are illegal in Canada. That's right, illegal. Were they found to be unhealthy? Unsafe? Nope. Instead, the beans fail to meet a 60 per cent quotient the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has deemed to be the appropriate minimal amount of beans in every can of baked beans. British baked beans contain only 49 per cent beans.

According to the Food and Drugs Act:

B.11.041. [S]. Beans or Vegetarian Beans shall be the food prepared from dried beans, may contain sauce, seasoning, spices and a sweetening agent and shall contain not less than 60 per cent drained solids, as determined by official method FO-20, Determination of Drained Solids of Beans with Pork or Beans and Pork and Beans or Vegetarian Beans, October 15, 1981. SOR/82-768, s. 29.

(Think they don't bust you for these sorts of absurdities? Think again. Here is one fine for a British baked beans-related infraction. And here's another.)

Thank goodness for this sort of oversight! I hope the CFIA is well paid for this important work keeping us Canadians safe and oblivious to the potential abuse the Brits could subject us to.

[I'm just now trying to figure out whether or not it's all right, and considered decent journalistic form, to make public a taped interview that I conducted with a CFIA legislative officer for the purposes of this article. The conversation is fun to listen to, and gives you a good sense of just how daft these regulations are. If anyone knows what the rules are regarding this, let me know. Keep in mind that the officer was well aware of the fact that I was a journalist, and that I wanted to speak to him for the purpose of making what he has to say public (at least in print).]


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