Warning: May contain fish

Red and white wineI got out a bottle of wine tonight because it’s Friday and I can. Also because I want to.

I read the label to see if it was undertones of plum or blackcurrant I should be expecting, and was mildly alarmed to see the warning “may contain traces of milk and fish products”.

If it’s all the same to you, I’d really rather my wine didn’t contain fish products.

Sure the label says “traces”, but that sounds remarkably like one of these euphemisms that starts with “you might feel a little pinch” and ends with you screaming in agony, convinced your arm is falling off.

“Traces of milk” in your wine doesn’t sound appealing—something like when you accidentally add milk to your orange juice—but it doesn’t sound horrifying.

“Traces of fish products”, however, makes it sound like they dropped a handful of fish entrails in the wine before realising their mistake and fishing them out. Hence “traces” and not “loops”.

That doesn’t make it okay.

But my mind isn’t content to stop there.

What if it wasn’t just chunks or loops of fish in my wine, but fish. Fish swimming around and being all scaly and slimy and staring at me? Fish like this.

Freaky fish that's judging me
What you looking at?

Wow, how judgmental is this fish?

If I saw that in my wine I’d put it back on the shelf and quit drinking for at least a week.

Wine isn’t the only place where product labels can get weird. Some of my favourites have been

  • a packet of peanuts that said, “Warning, may contain nuts”, because they’re not quite sure (though purists will tell you that peanuts are not actually nuts, so perhaps their confusion was justified), and
  • a tin of beans labelled “vegetarian beans”, because either the beans grew on plants, not pigs, or they lived on a strictly plant-based diet.
Vegetarian beans
Not a meat-eater among them.

At least I didn’t find any “carnivorous beans”.

These are probably very good reasons to not eat packaged food, and I don’t when I can be bothered cooking the natural, wholesome type. (That happens sometimes.) Now, off to have another glass of my fish-based wine.

What weird things have you read on product labels?


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Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

6 thoughts on “Warning: May contain fish”

  1. May contain fish, now that’s a new one! I must admit I went straight to inspect the wine I had in the house. It claimed to contain sulfids, which could be just as bad, but it sounds more appetizing than fish. I hope your wine tasted okay! I haven’t tried my sulfid-flavored one yet.

    You come across such exciting things on product labels. Vegetarian beans? I would love to meet their carnivorous cousins! I only get stated the obvious. I have a bag of oat flakes with bold text saying “contains oats”.

    1. I think sulfides are the nasties that give you a hangover. At least my fish didn’t give me a hangover, and the wine was actually pretty good. (Even better because it was free.)

      Haha. I see things like your oats packet and wonder if they’re trying to protect against being sued.

      Angry customer: These oat flakes contain oats!

      Manufacturer: Yes, sir, they’re oat flakes.

      Angry customer: But the packet doesn’t say then contain oats. I’m going to sue you.

      Manufacturer: … How can we stop this happening again?… I know!

  2. Been scrutinizing the labels of the things I ate the last couple of days. Vegan apple juice (so glad to know they rescue all the worms!), some traces of nuts in biscuits… No fishes in my wine, no parrots in my coffee beans, nothing exciting really.

    Than today happened. I bought some pine cones to give away with some sweets and nuts for Saint Nicholas Day. These pine cones that pop open and shoot at you with their pine nuts when you least expect it, but it’s okay since you can eat them. At least that’s what one reasonably would expect, when you buy them in a supermarket in the vegetable and fruit isle, right? After all pine nuts are quite expensive when you buy them sans cone. Anyway, got home, started preparing little packages, freed the cones from their paper collars, and for procrastination purposes read what the retailer has to say about their product: For decoration purposes only – Do not eat.

    Makes you wonder, did they try to scare us away from indulging in culinary sins, but realised fish and the prospect of carnivorous beans didn’t quite do the trick just yet? Is it a new diet scheme? Can we expect scented ice cream for sniffing purposes only in the supermarkets next year?

    Stay safe, do check the label of your chocolate Santa – you never know, maybe it’s for decoration purposes only.

    1. Food that’s for decorative purposes only – this has to be the work of the devil! Though I do love the idea of ice cream for sniffing (as long as there’s ice cream for eating as well). Only I think at that point it shouldn’t be called ice cream. It should be called “scented candles” or something similar.

      I’ve never seen whole pine nut cones for sale. Maybe we don’t get them over here. I’m jealous!

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