Constance Pelkey Designs

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dumpity dump!

The other day I was shopping and what did I find?? Sugar Free Cool Whip!

"Wow!" Says I to myself, "I can now eat Cool Whip! YAY!"

So later that evening we had our dessert and not 15 minutes went by and I was having cramps and growls and was generally not feeling well.

I knew I was experiencing the beginnings of dumping syndrome.

Dumping syndrome is a result of my new gastric bypass digestive system which alerts the (my) body of inappropriate eating. Dumping syndrome is described as a shock-like state when small, easily absorbed food particles quickly dump into the digestive system. This results in a very unpleasant feeling with symptoms of a cold clammy sweat, drained color in my face, a pounding heart beat, cramps and eventually explosive diarrhea.

Shortly after eating a food I don’t tolerate (sugar, corn syrup, fructose and just about any other form of sugar) I get disoriented, dizzy, I can have an overall sense of confusion or panic and I begin sweating.

At this point during a dumping episode it's best to just lie down, gently massage my tummy and let nature take its course. My body is efficiently, and painfully, correcting a chemical imbalance in it's cellular system. I know that "things" are passing when my panic subsides and exhaustion and cold chills set in. I can "follow" the cramps down through my abdomen and then I begin having diarrhea. After all is said and done I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.

The mild delirium associated with dumping is the result of an interruption of nerve impulses affecting cerebral metabolism. When incorrect foods are consumed and dumped into the digestive system the electrolytes and fluids in my system get out of balance.

So... this has happened to me before and it was because I'd not been careful to read the ingredient list on something. My bad.

As you can see by the picture of the new "sugar free" Cool Whip package up there at the beginning of this post, there's bright red, prominent lettering clearing stating that this product is SUGAR FREE!


No it's not!

I checked the package (afterward) and it clearly states CORN SYRUP as the second ingredient! I took a screen shot of Kraft's web page where the ingredients and Nutritional Label are listed. Click the picture below to see it up close.


A trivial amount of sugar!!??? I think not!

Normally I am a stickler about reading ingredients labels and if I'd kept a cool head in the grocery store, I would have read it, but the allure of those bright red letters stating that the product was Sugar Free proved too much for my elation and I paid for my lapse in judgment with a severe case of liquid ass!! *sigh*

So, anyways a couple days after the event, I was feeling better and I decided to contact the nice folks at Kraft and told them about my episode with their sugar free product. I emailed them in the morning and by that evening they were calling me!

The woman was very pleasant and took down my complaint and asked me how she could help make it better? I was actually dumbfounded for an answer. It never occurred to me to seek monetary reimbursement. She asked me if 5 dollars to replace my investment in their product would "do it?"

I paused with my mouth slightly ajar and thought - "5 bucks to "pay for" my being terribly ill for the better part of 24 hours???"

I don't think 5 bucks is going to pay for that.

I told her that and she said that all she could do was offer me the 5 dollar reimbursement and it was up to me to do whatever else I needed to do.

So... folks have suggested that I contact the local consumer reporter on one of the local television stations to see if they'd do a piece on me. Perhaps bringing light to this particular issue of "truth in packaging" will prompt a lawyer to contact me and take this one step further.


I don't know what to do at this point except "sit on it" for the weekend, discuss this with family and friends and see...

The idea of litigation isn't one that I relish, but I was duped. Wasn't I?



Elaine said...

You were certainly taken advantage by what's probably an obscure labeling issue technicality there (that items sweetened with corn syrup are not considered 'sugar' so the product was technically sugar free) and I would certainly write a few of your consumer advocacy / lobby groups.

Check to see if Consumerist allows for rants about such and Salon often has good letters about things related to this.

American package labeling requires a marketing and law degree I swear - you should see the tiny labels on the Canadian equivalent items. Not that thats BETTER (because they are allowed to omit things here) but yeah. And since corn is not subsidized here, its not used to sweeten things unless they are American imports.

I think to sue would be the wrong response - particularly if there is some obscure label law that allows the sugar free label on items sweetened with non cane sugars. I'd get the refund and be a vocal pain in the ass.

Anonymous said...

Hey Connie! You look gorgeous, by the way. Cousin Mo here...

Technically you weren't duped. The product *was* sugar free in that refined sugar was not added. Although corn syrup is sweet it isn't *sugar* persay. Ditto for stuff like honey, maple syrup, flavoured sex gels... ;o)

Tell them they owe you 5 bucks for the product, 10 bucks for the toilet paper used, 35 bucks to wine and dine Nancy after having to witness the atomic catASStrophe and 4 bucks for the jar of vaseline you'll need to shove their product up their ass.

((hugs)) Mo

Dara said...

You don't have grounds for a suit, but bringing it to the attention of the local media (via their health editor) is not a bad idea at all. It irks the sh*t out of me that product labeling can be so manipulated as to put the public at risk.

As for "sugar free", a lot of things making that claim also clearly state "not a diatetic food" if there really is a sugar equivalent. I think this kind of warning (similar to the one required re phenolketonuria and the sweetener Aspertame) should be manditory. Dumping is one thing; diabetic coma is another.

Connie (The Purple Princess) said...

Thanks for your input Elaine!

You always have such a level head when it comes to stuff like this!

I have decided to notify as well as Channel 6. Any other suggestions?? I'm just going to go with the making other consumers aware of this issue slant instead of going the lawsuit route.

Connie (The Purple Princess) said...

Yo Mo!! Thanks! Where were you when Mom and I came for lunch!?? I was hoping you'd ride along with Lois and Vivian! *pout*

Thanks for the input and HA ha! On the rest of the money's I need to ask for!

Connie (The Purple Princess) said...

Hey Dara! Yeah, thats what I've concluded too...

I'm just going to notify as well as our local NBC station channel 6. Any other suggestions??