Health Blog Post:

Closed Source, Proprietary Food Products Are Bad Too
1/19/2016

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1/19/2016 - Closed Source, Proprietary Food Products Are Bad Too (Health)

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Closed Source, Proprietary Food Products Are Bad Too
Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
12:16:44 GMT

Health

As I've so often pointed out, closed source, proprietary, non-libre software is inherently flawed in a lot of ways.

But one thing I haven't pointed out as often is that closed source, proprietary, non-libre food products also are inherently flawed in a lot of ways.

Over the years, many products I used to like have either gotten totally discontinued (either arbitrarily or because the company went out of business), or their secret, proprietary, closed source recipes have been changed against my wishes.

And I wish there was more information available about the precise origins of every ingredient in my food.


This blog post was inspired by the fact that I recently found out I can no longer have my preferred version of yet another product I used to like - the Rite-Aid brand nutrition shake, a knock-off of Ensure.

I originally switched to the Rite-Aid nutrition shake after the real Ensure's recipe got changed in a way that tasted bad to me.

So, I'm particularly annoyed that even my favorite alternative to Ensure has now been ruined for me.


To my dismay, I recently found that Rite-Aid's vanilla-flavored "Original" nutrition shake now contains "liquid sucralose". (Luckily I noticed this before I drank any.)

I've read some very worrying things about sucralose (also known as Splenda), so, I can't possibly drink that variety of Rite-Aid nutrition shake ever again unless the makers get rid of the sucralose.

I found a Rite-Aid "Plus" vanilla nutrition shake which had sugar instead of sucralose, but, it doesn't taste as good as the kind of Rite-Aid nutrition shake I used to like (which I think was the vanilla-flavored "Original" kind, before its recipe was ruined with sucralose and who knows what other changes), which I assume they probably don't even make anymore.

The kind they used to make actually tasted better to me than Ensure ever did.


Anyway, this all would be less of a problem if the recipes of these products weren't probably secret and proprietary.

If all food products had free (as in freedom), libre, open source recipes, it would be impossible for the makers of those products to permanently deprive their customers of the customers' preferred versions of those products, because the makers wouldn't have a monopoly anymore.

So, people would no longer be dependent on the only maker of an exclusive product to never discontinue their product, to never tamper with the recipe, and to never go out of business.


Another problem with the "closed source" food industry is vague, uninformative ingredient names such as "natural flavors" and "artificial flavors".

But even not-so-vague ingredient lists are still inadequate, because I'd like to know not only what is in my food, but everything there is to know about the origins of each ingredient.

Did any ingredients possibly come from a farm or other location which is overly close to a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) well, a toxic waste injection well, or other hazardous abomination? (I've been wondering about this ever since watching the documentary Gasland.)

Are there any genetically modified (GMO) ingredients? Exactly what pesticides were used? Were all the employees paid well and treated well? Etc., etc.

Even if all that information can't fit on a food label, at least it could be put on the web.

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