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The UAE has been flooded recently with unwelcome little red guests and I'm not talking redback spiders here.
I'm talking Heinz ketchup from Pittsburgh.
I can almost see you doing the Scooby Doo 'HuuuUH'? at this point. Who cares where ketchup comes from, after all?
Well, me for a start. Because the Heinz Ketchup from Pittsburgh packs a whack of a processed food ingredient that really gets my goat - high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS to its friends. In fact, HFCS is the third largest ingredient by weight in the US version of the plate-side treat that we all know and love. It's why the ketchup is pleasingly gloopy, and yet its a highly processed, vile foodstuff that is 98% likely refined from genetically modified corn.
You'd not get away with this in Europe. And the 'standard' ketchup in the Middle East, made by Heinz' Egyptian subsidiary (it used to be a joint venture, but Heinz bought its partner out in 2009) actually uses sugar as a sweetener rather than the more controversial and dishonest HFCS. Why we're suddenly getting our ketchup in the UAE from Pittsburgh rather than Cairo is a mystery to me.
High Fructose Corn Syrup is nasty stuff. I've talked about it before over at the Fake Plastic blog - take a look, it's linked here and not pleasant reading.
So take a look at that ketchup bottle in your fridge. Just so's you know what you're eating. Or giving your kids to eat...