Hey Whole Foods*, Is There Horse Meat in My Cupcake?

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My wife said that she had a present for me when she returned home from a work event last night. She placed the chocolate cupcake in front of me as I typed away on the keyboard.

“It’s vegan,” she said, knowing that I would check the ingredients. “They printed the wrong label, but it’s vegan.”

IMG_5377The Whole Foods label listed my dietary nemeses including the stalwarts of baked goods: eggs and milk. I used to drink milk by the gallon daily, actually mixed with at least half a dozen raw eggs among other protein rich ingredients.

“But the label says…,” I drifted off. Edwina never took the vegan leap with me but she eats much healthier than I do. Did you know that at least one type of Doritos does not contain real cheese?

“Well, I’ll eat it if you prefer,” she countered.

Who was I to trust? It was in black and white. Labels don’t lie, right? On the other hand, my wife is the one who interrogates the poor unfortunate that answers the phone at our local Chinese take-away to ensure the egg rolls contain no egg and that the fried rice is pork-free. When they try to dodge her questions she slips into Cantonese and even Mandarin if they retreat further into their dialectic fortress.

It’s a question that needs not be asked. Of course I trust my wife over a label. But it raised an interesting point. Who do we trust when our allies are not around? The writing on the box has always held its vagaries for all to see: “natural ingredients”, “flavors”, etc. I studied enough nutrition over the years to identify the loopholes on the packaging.

So I grabbed the fork Edwina brought, then put it down, and dug in with my fingers. I cared for four horses as a kid and I’m pretty sure they never tasted this good.

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*While this cupcake was bought at Whole Foods, I have no reason to believe that it actually contained horse meat. It was actually rather delicious.

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