NAPA, please

NAPA me, Lucky Me!

By Anthony O. Alcantara

I haven’t been eating grains since October last year, except for my cheat days. I’ve been following a semi-caveman diet that seems to fit me so far.

On my cheat day recently, I suddenly had a longing for Lucky Me! pancit canton. There were a few varieties I could choose from in the store at our condo. I settled on the chilimansi flavor.

It says, “NEW LOOK. Same Great Taste.” I had vivid memories of how it tasted like years ago. Another label caught my eye: “USES NATURAL GREEN TEA EXTRACT. NO ARTIFICIAL PRESERVATIVES ADDED.” In the middle of that label is “NAPA,” a convenient acronym.

“Hey buddy. This is NAPA. No artificial preservatives added. Eat this. It’s good for you.”

This is excellent, I tell myself. I felt like giving Lucky Me! a high five. So I buy two small packs, just for me. NAPA is the best.

When I got home and read the text at the back of the packaging, I learned that the product used green tea extract as a natural and healthy preservative. Nice.

It's best to read the fine print.

But when I read the list of ingredients, I discovered some artificial-sounding names: monosodium glutamate (MSG), maltodextrin, tartrazine, and sunset yellow.

Well, MSG is naturally occurring in food, but it’s not naturally occurring in pancit canton unless you add it. I guess this could pass.

Maltodextrin is a food additive produced from starch through partial hydrolysis. It is commonly used in sodas and candy. While it is easily digestible, it’s a synthesized substance.

Tartrazine is also synthetic and is used as food coloring.

Sunset yellow is used in fermented foods that must be heat treated. It’s derived from petroleum, which happens to fuel your cars, too.

So can someone please explain to me how Lucky Me! Pancit Canton Chilimansi Flavor can claim to be NAPA?

To Monde Nissin, the manufacturer of Lucky Me!, I say, “NAPA, please.” No Asinine Puffery Allowed.

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