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'Love' Isn’t a Real Food Ingredient, According to the FDA

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The Nashoba Brook Bakery in West Concord, Massachusetts, claims to add a generous helping of love to every batch of granola it makes. Until recently this was evident in the label's list of ingredients, but now customers will just have to take their word for it. As Bloomberg reports, the business is under fire from the FDA for including “love” as a key component on nutrition labels.

In September, the federal agency wrote to the bakery’s owners warning them to remove any “intervening material” from their ingredients lists. “Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient ‘Love,’” the letter reads. “Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of food must be listed by their common or usual name. ‘Love’ is not a common or usual name of an ingredient.”

Nashoba’s Chief Executive Office John Gates told Bloomberg that the notice gave him an Orwellian vibe. “Situations like that where the government is telling you you can’t list ‘love’ as an ingredient, because it might be deceptive, just feels so silly,” he said.

Making sure each word on a food package has a clear meaning is one of the trickier responsibilities that falls to the FDA. Considering that the agency struggles to define terms like “natural” and “sandwich,” banning “love” was likely a no-brainer.

But the metaphysical ingredient on the packaging wasn’t the only issue the FDA took with the bakery. They also found that Nashoba, which provides goods to about 120 stores in New England, was preparing food in “insanitary conditions.” According to the FDA, the cleanliness concerns take precedent over the word “love” on the label. The bakery plans to respond to all of the group’s notes in a timely manner, but still disagrees with the request to do away with their granola’s sentimental ingredient.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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This Game About Soup Highlights How Tricky Language Is
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Something Something Soup Something

Soup, defined by Merriam-Webster as "a liquid food especially with a meat, fish, or vegetable stock as a base and often containing pieces of solid food," is the ultimate simple comfort food. But if you look closer at the definition, you'll notice it's surprisingly vague. Is ramen soup? What about gumbo? Is a soy vanilla latte actually a type of three-bean soup? The subjectivity of language makes this simple food category a lot more complicated than it seems.

That’s the inspiration behind Something Something Soup Something, a new video game that has players label dishes as either soup or not soup. According to Waypoint, Italian philosopher, architect, and game designer Stefano Gualeni created the game after traveling the world asking people what constitutes soup. After interviewing candidates of 23 different nationalities, he concluded that the definition of soup "depends on the region, historical period, and the person with whom you're speaking."

Gualeni took this real-life confusion and applied it to a sci-fi setting. In Something Something Soup Something, you play as a low-wage extra-terrestrial worker in the year 2078 preparing meals for human clientele. Your job is to determine which dishes pass as "soup" and can be served to the hungry guests while avoiding any items that may end up poisoning them. Options might include "rocks with celery and batteries in a cup served with chopsticks" or a "foamy liquid with a candy cane and a cooked egg served in a bowl with a fork."

The five-minute game is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but Gualeni also hopes to get people thinking about real philosophical questions. According to its description page, the game is meant to reveal "that even a familiar, ordinary concept like 'soup' is vague, shifting, and impossible to define exhaustively."

You can try out Something Something Soup Something for free on your browser.

[h/t Waypoint]

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