Sunday, May 18, 2003

Concerning truth in labelling

While I was in Italy I kept noticing a phrase that repeated on the side of the bottles of Italian Mineral Water. "So-and-so's Mineral Water has a diuretic effect. Also it aids in the dilution and elimination of Uric Acid," it would say, sometimes in Italian and English, sometimes just in Italian, the phrasing changing slightly from bottle to bottle, each time as if it was promising some kind of miracle cure unique to that brand of mineral water.

I'd comment on it to Italians, every time I saw it, puzzled and delighted. "But surely, if you translate that out of impressive-phrase-on-the-side-of-the-bottle-language it means if you drink this water you will pee?" I said.

And they agreed that it did in fact mean that, and said that the Italians liked the fact it seemed to be conferring medical benefits and possible weight loss.

I think that they should go further, and put a note on the side of bottles of Italian mineral water indicating the failure to ingest such water, from those bottles or in any related form, will undoubtedly result in dehydration and inevitable death. I bet they'd clean up.