(Second of two parts)
To find out more about Hot Fudge Sundae Pop-Tarts, I called Kellogg’s at 1-800-962-1413. Veronica fielded my call. I’m not sure she sensed my ironic tone, but I wanted my questions to match the ridiculousness of the product.
“What is the difference between yellow #6 lake and just plain yellow #6?” I asked.
“The difference is that yellow #6 is a water-soluble color,” Veronica said. “Ones with the word “lake” are water-insoluble and used to color foods high in fat and oil.”
When I probed further about the use of colorants, Veronica used the veil of government standards.
“All of our colors are approved by the FDA,” she said. “We wouldn’t put anything in our products that’s harmful to our consumers.”
Many, however, feel that the synthetic additives rampant in foodstuffs are responsible for a host of health problems.
To further defend the use of artificial colors, Veronica stated several times that they are used “to give the desired appearance to the food.”
“What’s ‘color added’?” I asked, referring to the ingredient “color added.” “Aren’t there enough colors added?”
“That’s referring to titanium dioxide, which is used in minimal amounts for whitening.”
I asked why “titanium dioxide” isn’t written instead of “color added.”
Kellogg’s, Veronica explained, isn’t required by the FDA to list titanium dioxide. I wonder if paint makers or sunscreen producers are required to list the titanium dioxide found in their products.
My next two questions dealt with the absurdity of the packaging.
“Veronica, there’s an ice cream sundae shown on the box. But when I opened up the box, there was no sundae inside. Where’s the sundae?”
(Extended laugh.) “No, that’s just giving an illustration of what the Pop-Tarts are.”
“You give toasting and microwaving instructions on the package. Wouldn’t that melt the sundae?”
“No, because it’s not ice cream in there. There’s no ice cream.”
“It’s just hot fudge-flavored Pop-Tarts.”
Veronica mentioned something about nutritionists.
“Wait, you have nutritionists? What do they do?”
“They help out with product development,” she said. “I’m sorry, we’re really busy, so if this isn’t a serious phone call . . .”
I cut her off before she could finish.
“Veronica, you have no idea how serious this phone call is. Good night.”