7

votes

What the #@$% does and/or mean when looking at the ingredients for oils?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 16, 2012 at 3:30 AM

I think it is completely ridiculous that companies are allowed to put an and/or in their ingredients list with regards to oils. What does that even mean? I can't tell you how many labels I read that say olive oil and/or canola oil......palm oil and/or safflower oil.......coconut oil and/or vegetable oil. Do these companies really just close their eyes, throw in whatever oil is available and hope for the best??

I usually just stay clear of the products that have this in their ingredients, but I see it more and more, especially ones that ADVERTISE olive oil, palm oil, or coconut oil. Can someone please explain what this means and how they can get away with it, especially when they advertise as using the good oils??

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on June 24, 2012
at 12:22 AM

That's not entirely correct RayDawg. They say that because they process different bars on the same lines and they cant guarantee that the bars that don't have Almonds as ingredients don't still have traces of almonds in them.

Cd2ff8c68dd1f1d539ad7f0ee94b0421

(1061)

on January 16, 2012
at 06:40 PM

Or in combination, thus the "and"

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6259)

on January 16, 2012
at 05:57 PM

That's how they sneak crap into food - I always assume the worst possible scenario - some nasty high Omega 6 and/or rancid vegetable oil -so avoid!

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6259)

on January 16, 2012
at 05:57 PM

That's how they sneak crap into food - I always assume the worst possible scenario - some nasty high Omega 6 and/or rancid vegetablle oil -so avoid!

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 16, 2012
at 05:40 PM

Time to stop buying packaged food.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 16, 2012
at 04:42 PM

It means they check the market and buy whichever is cheapest at the time of each purchase. It's about profit, not nutrition.

Medium avatar

(2923)

on January 16, 2012
at 09:00 AM

"Plausible deniability" -- same reason slaughterhouses shove everything into one grinder, that way you can't single out any one of their suppliers for an E. Coli outbreak ...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 16, 2012
at 03:47 AM

Agree that this sucks- usually they will use the cheapest oil of those listed. which usually means soy.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on January 16, 2012
at 03:35 AM

+1; good question. I'm also curious how this labeling anomaly is allowed. I wouldn't eat this crap under the assumption that it is going to be primarily seed oil, but I'm still curious how they are allowed to print that.

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5 Answers

13
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on January 16, 2012
at 04:17 AM

It means that will use either interchangeably depending upon current market price.

Cd2ff8c68dd1f1d539ad7f0ee94b0421

(1061)

on January 16, 2012
at 06:40 PM

Or in combination, thus the "and"

9
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on January 16, 2012
at 04:59 AM

It means our food system is literally that broken. That they couldn't even tell you in a life or death situation how much of which oil is in the product. And people think this stuff is edible?!

My favorite is cottonseed oil. Great idea. We have warehouses of agricultural waste, what should we do with it? Let's put it in food for humans!

Medium avatar

(2923)

on January 16, 2012
at 09:00 AM

"Plausible deniability" -- same reason slaughterhouses shove everything into one grinder, that way you can't single out any one of their suppliers for an E. Coli outbreak ...

2
C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

on January 16, 2012
at 03:33 PM

It's also a marketing ploy. Despite what the paleo folks understand, many people still think canola is healthy. But, it's more expensive than some of the others. So, when they put "canola, soybean, and/or cottonseed oil" on the label, our brains go "Oh canola! That's good for me!" and buy it, when realistically, it's probably soy or cottonseed.

0
Medium avatar

on January 16, 2012
at 05:25 PM

Isn't it remarkable, how most of us are raised with the idea of Food as a dependable constant, so much so that we don't think about it except in terms of foods we "like" or "don't like," only to find out, as life unfolds, that the sense of constancy is an illusion and we need to make choices using criteria nobody - not Mom, not Dad, not Grandma - ever mentioned.

Yes, either/or clearly indicates the food system is broken. Let's face it: the food system wasn't created with optimal human performance in mind, though its purveyors are often keen to use that sort of language. The simplest thing to bear in mind, as someone other than me first pointed out, is that the center aisles of the grocery are filled with packaged, processed foods we do well largely to avoid, while the outer aisles are stocked with items our ancestors would have recognized as real food: meats, seafood, veggies, fruit.

The fact that we come to a place like PH to ask questions and seek information is because we are engaged in thinking for ourselves about food choices. For me this continues to drive home the craziness of the default food contexts we encounter daily - for instance, at "convenience" stores where one many of folks manage to find "foods" to constitute "meals" on a regular basis.

Onward...

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 16, 2012
at 02:16 PM

It means they use multiple factories/processing centers, and they vary in the way they process things, but these guys want to save $0.005 per label by using a more generic label.

Sometimes you'll see something labeled "May Contain Almonds" on say, chocolate bars. The ones that say Almond have the almonds, the ones that don't, don't. This is also a cost savings measure on the label.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on June 24, 2012
at 12:22 AM

That's not entirely correct RayDawg. They say that because they process different bars on the same lines and they cant guarantee that the bars that don't have Almonds as ingredients don't still have traces of almonds in them.

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