Silly product warning labels

I was just opening a new pack of umeboshi (pickled plums) today, when I noticed this warning on the lid in Japanese:

WARNING: Umeboshi have seeds, and sometimes the seeds can be pointed.
So please be careful.

Here’s the label, with two pointy seeds.


(Edit: I could understand the umeboshi warning if it was in English (or language of the country in which the pack was being sold), since people may be unfamiliar with umeboshi. But this was a pack imported from Japan, with Japanese writing, so they are warning Japanese people, who are, or should be, familiar with umeboshi and their pointy seeds. Ume are related to apricots, so maybe apricots should have pointy-seed labels too.)

WTF? So…has it come to this now? We have to have warning labels on natural foods?

I can understand warning labels on manufactured products, say a pesto sauce, to warn about the existence of finely ground nuts. A small percentage of the population is very allergic to nuts.

But, surely the nut-allergic shopper knows to stay away from whole peanuts for example. Or will we have to have labels on those too? “Warning: This bag contains peanuts.” ….

What about warning labels on bags of beans? “Warning: This bag contains beans, which may cause flatulence and socially awkward situations.” Meat? “Warning: This pack contains meat, which comes from an animal. Vegetarians are known to have an aversion to meat.” A bunch of bananas? “Warning: Bananas have slippery skins. If dropped on the ground, they may cause an accident, or a horde of circus clowns to show up.”

Is this labelling gone too far? (Japan is not as litigious as the U.S. for example, but it’s slowly getting there.) Are there any other nanny-state labels you’ve seen?

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too late - we have warnings

too late - we have warnings on nuts here in england! OH! we bought a carton of milk the other day with “warning contains milk”. Hmm…one wonders what else it should contain!

Gail | 4 March, 2008 - 17:24

Honey contains no added

Honey contains no added sugar.

sofa | 4 March, 2008 - 17:32

A leading supermarket chain

A leading supermarket chain in the Netherlands does the ‘obvious’ labeling thing on their store-brand products. They dress it up as ‘good allergy information on everything’. It makes sense in a way, but it seems rather overdone at times, too. For instance, I have a box of unsalted peanuts here, and on the label it says: ‘Allergy information: Contains peanuts’.

I think they have a list of ‘common allergens’ and simply list the ones that occur or may occur in a product on the label. But I haven’t seen fresh fruit and vegetables labeled in this way yet, thankfully…

Wynke | 4 March, 2008 - 17:39

Peanut Butter

I have seen at least one peanut butter brand that warns the product contains peanuts, so yes, the insanity has gone pretty far.

anon. | 4 March, 2008 - 21:12

same here

Here is South Africa we also have the super obvious warnings. I always have to laugh when purchasing nuts and the package warns that it contains nuts.

Nicola | 4 March, 2008 - 21:32

wow, I didn’t know this

wow, I didn’t know this was so widespread already! I’ve checked a couple of packages I have of nuts…so far they don’t warn about nuts inside. But who knows…it could come here too. What nuttiness.

(I almost spit out my tea at the ‘honey contains no added sugar’ one :))

maki | 4 March, 2008 - 22:24

I’ve seen packages of

I’ve seen packages of “Peanut Lover’s Snack Mix” have a warning that it has peanuts in it.

Thalionar | 4 March, 2008 - 23:05

There is a type of peanut

There is a type of peanut butter filled cheese crackers I buy that warns that the product contains nuts, cheese, wheat and milk (which is different on this packaging for some reason). Makes me laugh at least!

karmatir | 5 March, 2008 - 02:23

water contains 0 calories

i thought water was fattening until I read the label, “zero calories”. It should also read, “warning: water may be wet. may spray out of nose if injested while laughing, and in some cases, accidental drowning.”

I also enjoy the fact that I’ve been unknowingly RISKING MY LIFE eating umeboshi. Thank you for warning me about bananas…lol!


julie | 5 March, 2008 - 03:39

Australia also seems to be litigous-happy place

Here, any food product (apart from loose ‘natural’ foods), has warnings for any ingredient that includes a known allergen, or was processed on equipment that may have touched an allergen (seeds, nuts, wheat/gluten, dairy, soy, etc). I love the chip (crisps) packets that cover all allergens, just to be safe.

Just checked my cupboard, we don’t currently seem to have the “honey” warning. Very funny, that one ;>

Kym | 5 March, 2008 - 12:12

I hate to break it to you...

… but there are idiots everywhere!

A few years ago, while grocery shopping with my then-boyfriend, I started enthusiastically filling a bag with newly arrived Bing cherries, telling him how much I enjoyed them. He picked one up, popped it in his mouth… and bit down as hard as he could! The resulting “crunch” was probably heard throughout the store! I just stood there completely speechless for a couple of minutes, not really believing what had just happened. I finally managed to ask him if he was OK, if he’d broken any teeth. He looked as shocked as I felt — how come there was a pit in the cherry? why hadn’t I told him about it? (This is also the guy who refrigerated a bottle of Pernod I’d given him for his birthday, then reproached me when I told him it had to be stored at room temperature, even though it’s mentioned right there on the label!)

The guy was just completely clueless about things I would have thought everyone knew. And seemed to blame me for his ignorance. So yes, I dumped him soon afterwards.

Deleilan | 5 March, 2008 - 14:49

wow…are you sure that guy

wow…are you sure that guy was human? Maybe he was an alien in disguise, like Mork (from Mork and Mindy)… hehe.

maki | 5 March, 2008 - 17:44

Hee hee!

Maki, whatever he was, I sure hope there’s only one of his species on this planet!

Deleilan | 5 March, 2008 - 20:57

Ha :)

These comments remind me of my box of tea bags, which has “Ingredients: Tea” printed on the side. Never fails to amuse me :)

xgirl | 6 March, 2008 - 11:07

I wish!

I would love to see warning labels on fruits. That sounds hilarious. They do already have them on dried fruits to warn against pit fragments, but that’s not funny enough. Yours are great. :)

Voodoolily | 6 March, 2008 - 19:50

Way too far

I just noticed a similar warning on a bag of peanuts I bought at the grocery store: contains peanuts!

PS - Never commented before, but I love your site!

David | 7 March, 2008 - 03:27

i think...

Just Hungry needs a “warning: contains nuts” disclaimer too.

this post made my day…

brady-licious | 7 March, 2008 - 07:17


Oh man…natural food labels! Awesome… it’s just like the stupid vegetable tattoos:

Hillary | 7 March, 2008 - 20:08


don’t they put the labels there so they don’t get sued

e | 8 March, 2008 - 22:39


Not surprisingly that emany food labels are labelled wrong due to translation of the language. Maybe I should take up Japanese…
Thanks a lot Maki!

Janice | 11 March, 2008 - 00:06

Contains Nuts

Once the allergy advice labels have permeated all corners of the food and drinks markets, they’ll move on to hardware stores.


Yes, they may have been produced in a factory that also handles brass nuts, but I forsee this madness spreading.

Toe Knee | 5 August, 2008 - 09:36

More silly warning labels..
There, collected by a friend of mine on our uni’s anime club forum.

It shows that humans in this era are very delicate.

MitarashiDango | 23 September, 2008 - 12:17

here is another one for you

have any of you seen the warning labels on fast food coffee and hot cocoa. “warning contents may be hot”” May cause burns on contact” I thought that was a daa.

articfire69 | 24 September, 2008 - 06:19

here is another one for you

have any of you seen the warning labels on fast food coffee and hot cocoa. “warning contents may be hot”” May cause burns on contact” I thought that was a daa.

articfire69 | 24 September, 2008 - 06:19

Re: here is another one for you


Jeprox | 23 July, 2010 - 11:18


A leading UK supermarket chain helpfully provides allergy advice on packaging to the effect that tuna, sardines, salmon, cod, haddock etc contain fish. And that cheese (except goat cheese) contains cow’s milk.

anon. | 11 November, 2008 - 17:50

Re: Silly product warning labels

Product warning labels are for the weak... I say save humanity, bring back natural selection!

anon. | 21 June, 2010 - 19:37

Re: Silly product warning labels

Don't forget the "Gluten Free" label on a jar of peanut butter. The ingredients were:

Peanuts. Salt.

I thought "______ free" was for a food that would normally be expected to contain the ingredient named. So milk might be labeled "fat free" if skimmed. How far do we have to go to remind consumers of the obvious?

Arimathea | 26 July, 2010 - 23:40

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