Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Last night over bubbles and during the finale of Holland’s Next Top Model, Nik bitch-slapped me for neglecting my blog. “You’ve been neglecting your blog” he said to me in exactly that tone of voice that suggested I had better get my type on. So about Holland’s Next Top Model… Those judges chose the ugliest of the 3 finalists to win… I was going for the one with the lips, but instead they chose the one with the teeth that seem to point to several countries all at the same time. She walked that runway like she was rocking combat boots under that gown. Girlfriend might look good on the cover of ‘Cow Pie Weekly’ but she just does not belong anywhere near the words ‘Cosmopolitan’ or ‘Vogue’. I know that Holland isn’t exactly the epicenter of fashion for the global village, but is that really who we want to send into the big Ford Agency model battle taking place in January?

Speaking of that whole Ford Agency do in New York, Raavi, I expect you to use your connections to get us into that… I don’t care what you have to do, what false promises you have to make or who you need to bat those expensive falsies at, but we have got to be there… You owe me after that whole Paris episode you pulled behind my back – and you know exactly what I mean babe.

On a totally unrelated subject, I was in Brussels last weekend where once again it was a blur of brunches, dinners, Desperate Housewives and spinning classes. There I was, minding my own business and trying to get some beauty sleep when suddenly I was confronted with a mystery I am still trying to wrap my well educated and fantastically producted head around. How do they get all those Pringles chips in the same shape and size? I realized I didn't have a clue and suddenly I felt a need to apply my investigative journalistic skills and embark on a Frodo like quest for the truth. Is it a special potato they use? Are we being lied to? Are they perhaps not carved from real potatoes? Imagine the scandal, the uproar, the picket lines of concerned mothers outside the local supermarket. I respect a person’s right to know what the heck they are putting in their mouth.

I have to say, I had no idea the can of chips I was about to be opening... First, I came across the tasty explanation that Pringles are the environmentally friendly solution to the old, unsold and uneaten french fries from McDonalds. Imagine my surprise when I read the following:

“In most areas of the world local health regulations require that food cannot sit under a heat lamp for more than 16 minutes before it is deemed inconsumable by the public. It is at this time interval that one of the largest suppliers of fast food for the world supplies one of the largest manufacturers of potato chips their base ingredient. McDonald's carefully collects unserved french fries and places them into specially created dehydrators. The remains are then flaked and placed into airtight containers which are then shipped to Pringles factories all over the world”

I was mortified. Shocked even. What mountain of processed food had I chosen to climb? Just as I began to wondfer if I would be forever tied to "Pringlegate" I was very happy and digestively relieved to read the following rebuttal from Proctor and Gamble:

"I work in P&G Consumer Relations and have responsibility for the people who answer email messages about P&G products. I'm writing to ask for your help. Recently, a consumer got in touch to let us know about your "Did you ever wonder what Pringles potato chips were made of?" article. While she understood the article was written in fun, it had been passed to her by people who may not have been as sure. I enjoyed your outrageous claim that ingredients for Pringles come from a famous maker of french-fries. However, there are enough facts mixed into many of your articles that we feel people may not fully understand the Pringles article is a spoof.I'm sure you can appreciate how important it is for us to create and maintain trust in our products. We want the people who buy Pringles to be confident that only fresh raw materials are used to make the dehydrated potato flake ingredient. Since there are indications that your article may be misinterpreted as factual, we respectfully request that you remove it from your site or clearly indicate that it is a spoof.Thanks for your time.

Wishing you success with your site!

Beth Pohlmeyer
Procter & Gamble Consumer Relations"

Thanks for that Beth. Maybe it’s just me, but ‘fresh’ and ‘dehydrated potato flake ingredient’ don’t really belong in the same sentence. Needless to say, the more I investigated, the more intrigued I became. I went onto Pringles.com to find information about ingredients and could not find them. All they wanted me to do way buy one of their many products without giving a person the proper education to make an informed and educated decision. I had to go to the UK site where I not only learned that Pringles are NOT kosher, but they don't contain any alcohol - what's the point then? I was, however, disturbed to see a button for ‘Pringles Safety’ and so I immediately clicked to see what danger those loveable little chips were capable of… In fact, just last weekend during a discussion of orchids, I discovered that not all orchids are created equal. Some, according to Bo are ‘rough’ and perhaps prone to random acts of violence. Graham suggested a healthy dose of tough love to whip them into shape and suddenly I found myself wondering if Pringles might not also be wolves in crispy sheep’s clothing. And this is what I found:

"With more than 30 years of production history and optimisation of manufacturing systems and capabilities, Pringles snacks have become a fine art of quality and safety. In the European Union, food safety and quality is a highly legislated field so that foods complying with the legislation attain high standards of quality and safety. Pringles has a robust system of controls in place to ensure conformity with this legislation. This system involves regulatory safety and quality assurance (QA) assessments of suppliers systems, capabilities and formulations in the qualification of all raw materials used in making Pringles snacks and packaging. Pringles manufacturing facilities run in accordance with good manufacturing practice (i.e. GMP) and undergo Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, so called HACCP measures, to optimise their safety and quality output. Finally, our product supply systems also undergo equally thorough quality reviews to ensure optimum conditions of transport and storage for delivering Pringles to our trade partners and customers."

So to summarize the whole thing, Pringles are a legislatively complaint fine art consisting of a quality mix of materials such dehydrated flakes that are pleasing to the eye and tempting to the tastebuds. Looks like some marketing and legal people have been earning their salaries. Maybe they should do us all a favour and start peeling some real potatoes.

I feel that my work here is done.

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