Do Ingredients Matter?

Do ingredients NOT matter to the average person? No sarcasm intended – I’m asking this question seriously. It’s been many years since my household has been living with food allergies, so maybe I have become completely disconnected from normalcy.

I was at a local farmer’s market with my family today and saw a sign for Vegan Gluten-Free doughnuts. The sign didn’t say “nut-free” but I was intrigued and thought it was worth asking the vendor some questions about the ingredients, in case my son could eat it. The guy frying the doughnuts was very friendly, and I appreciated his honesty when he told me that there was no guarantee of the doughnuts being nut-free. We don’t take risks, so it was quickly and easily decided that we wouldn’t give my son the doughnuts.

I like to cook (and eat) so naturally I wanted more details about the ingredients. I asked what kind of flour blend they used and what they used to replace the dairy and the egg. I assumed that a vendor displaying a big sign advertising “vegan” and “gluten-free” food is screaming to invite people to ask about the ingredients, which is why my discussion with the guy left me so disturbed. The vendor had absolutely no idea what was in the doughnuts! His exact answer was, “they’re definitely vegan, gluten-free and made with sweet potatoes, but the lady who sells us the batter doesn’t share her recipe with us.”

I was speechless… Does this vendor just expect people to take his word for it? The more shocking realization from today is that apparently most people do just believe claims written on a sign! For the next half hour or so, I watched him continue to fry his doughnuts, with people continuing to purchase them without question … Incredible.

A vendor selling food without knowing exactly what is in the food should NOT be allowed or accepted. Customers don’t need to be on a special diet or have food allergies to ask about the ingredients in their food. Everyone needs to care about what goes into their bodies, and it’s not too much to expect or demand that food vendors know what’s in our food and are accountable for the ingredients and quality.