What’s In A Name? What’s In A Can Of Wasabi Peas.
So big questions first – what’s in Wasabi Peas? And if it’s not wasabi, how do you feel about that?
In England Wasabi peas are not at the top of most shopping lists, but Google gives me to understand that in USA they are quite the spicy snack. And now, it seems that someone in USA has read the small print on the label, and they are not happy bunnies because it turns out that the one ingredient missing therefrom, is the slightest hint of Wasabi.
So I do get it, yes, it said wasabi peas in BIG LETTERS, but the little letters said horseradish.
And half of me says – well that’s not right and something should be done. And the other half says Yes, but the can of peas cost about $5 like those lovely Rolox watches from Vietnam or Blackpool. And the third half of me says – yes but the peas come from the largest supermarkets in USA surely they should tell me the truth.
Anyway it seems that two Americans have taken a supermarket to court. They are suing for an award in damages, because, er , it’s just not right innit.
Where will that lead. Oat milk? Milk? – Wikipedia tells us “Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid food produced in the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for infant mammals before they are able to digest other types of food.”
So Cow’s milk, is the same, but the specific mammal is bovine. OK Got it.
So clearly, Oat milk is the liquid stored in the mammary glands of oats, read to nurture baby oats?
No hang on, Oat Milk isn’t milk at all. Who knew? Only everyone, that’s who.
What about white chocolate? Not a lot of chocolate in that is there? Cocoa solid? None per cent, actually.
In my enquiry online to find bedlinen, one well known national store offers fifty three different sheets. Of which only four contain actual linen.
Crabsticks? I mean, I must say that they are not actually made of poison, but you know – crab not so much.
But we are not children, we know this stuff.
The above is a list of some examples of where one word, often redolent of superior quality, is commonly used to describe something else which has little or nothing to do with the actual term. But we sort of go along with it.
But – are you up for buying a diamond ring from a jeweller and then being told “Oh yes of course it’s glass we just say it’s a diamond because it sounds better, but everyone knows we do that don’t they.”
So what have we got today, with the Wasabi peas?
Here is a recipe to make your own – here is a recipe – . As you see, one of the ingredients in Wasabi peas is half a cup of freshly grated Wasabi. Yes I can see how that would be necessary.
Off to the internet. Wasabi is, we learn, the “most difficult plant to grow commercially” and costs over £190.00 per kilo.
Wasabi is related to Horseradish and its flavour is stronger and unique. But Wasabi loses its flavour quickly after it is grated so it is difficult to store. And actually Horseradish is very easy to grow and its flavour stays strong and isn’t too far off Wasabi – especially if you’ve never had the real stuff. And what’s this – Horseradish costs £8.50 a kilo so twenty times less than Wasabi.
So here is the USA court report – the big Wasabi scandal of 2020.
Let me take you back to late 2019 when Hilary Yothers (in California) and Zain Eisenberg (in New York) both bought tins of Hapi Products Inc. Wasabi peas. I cannot tell you whether these persons are related, or whether it is entirely co-incidental that they, nearly 3000 miles apart from each other and feeling esurient –link here- popped into their respective shops and bought their respective snacks.
On the labelling on the package, the snack was described as Wasabi peas, but on the list of ingredients, Wasabi was not listed and Horseradish was.
So having discovered that the Wasabi peas contained no Wasabi well obviously off they dashed round to the courthouse.
Claiming, that had they known the peas were coated in mere Horseradish they never would have parted with their hard-earned dollars. To whit and indeed i.e. and viz, the sum of $5.99 each. Which of course is nearly $6.00 each they will never see again unless the Courts could be persuaded to right this wrong.
Now I think we all agree that if we buy a diamond ring from a jeweller we would likely call in the trading standards if it turns out to be glass. (Albeit that if we buy a diamond ring for $6.00 we have still only lost $6.00).
But two things. In UK, do we really go to court for redress if we are ripped off for a fiver?
The standard case cited as evidence of the USA crazy litigation culture is “When McDonald’s got sued because their coffee is hot”. But actually in that case the damage suffered was very real – Third degree burns. And the evidence was that the drive-through coffee was dispensed at almost boiling temperature which is undrinkably, scaldingly, hot.
Contrasted with the peas thing, where Hilary Yothers and Zain Eisenberg suffered no burns and got some tasty peas for a trivial price.
Anyway, turns out that the trading standards people in the States wouldn’t have been bothered. And neither was the Court albeit after a lot of lengthy and expensive court time spent in hearing evidence and reaching a judgement.
In a nutshell, the Court said “Of course Wasabi peas in US supermarkets never has had any Wasabi in it. Don’t be so silly, it’s like crabsticks. Read the label.”
Yebbut, on the other hand, the label does say Wasabi.
So I don’t know what to say. It seems very odd to me that Wasabi peas are sold throughout the USA and apparently no-one expects a trace of Wasabi.
In Devon you’d better not make a tasty delicacy of beef and swede and onion stew all wrapped in a lovely pastry shell and call it a Cornish pasty. Or eat it with a glass of English Champagne.
Perhaps a trading standards or copyright or trademark lawyer could sort it all out?
In the meantime –link here -a happy song More Peas –
Louise and I are back at work, so please do contact us whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for your Documents– at http://www.atkinsonnotary.com – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)