Milk: It Does Bilingualism Good


I think it is grand that Canada is a bilingual country. I have no problem with the fact that some of our highway signs are in English and French, or our cereal boxes, or our government documents. It adds a flavour that’s uniquely Canadian and, frankly, I think it’s past time for the United States to admit its own bilingualism and start to increase the presence of Spanish on their signs and documents.

But the milk box shown above takes bilingualism a little too far. Have a look.

Now, the principle of bilingualism is clear: if you have the English term, you should follow-up with the French term. Thus “Nutrition Facts” becomes “Valeur Nutritive.” Cool! A French lesson on a box. But what is the French term for “Calories”?


Thus, I have to ask: isn’t putting “Calories/Calories” on the box just a little bit repetitive? Or “Sodium/Sodium”? “Calcium/Calcium”? I’m all for equal prominence of English and French, but if the English and French words are actually equal, why not roll them into one another?

To which Erin replies: yeah, but think of how the country will react. Quebeckers will say that the French word was eliminated and the West would say that the English word was eliminated, all in the name of pushing an agenda of French/English assimilation.

This is why Canadians get their national toothache. So drink your milk.

Related to the above rant…

I’ve seen this in both American and Canadian nutritional information boxes: take a look at the serving size being listed, here. On this box, you get a listing of the percentage of your total recommended daily intake of various nutrients according to a serving size of one 250 ml container.

But the container we’re looking at contains 500 ml of milk.

I know, I know; you just need to double the numbers, but don’t you see how misleading it is? Why give us information for the wrong container? What are you not telling us?

Or, put it another way, I like to eat the cinnamon candy Hot Tomales while on the road. It gives my mouth something interesting to chew on while I drive, and I’m convinced that the sugar burst helps keep me alert. The king size boxes are prominently displayed in most American gas stations, and the box’s nutritional information chart tells you much of what you’d expect: there’s not much nutrition to be had here. However, a typical serving size contains only 300 calories.

In the fine print: recommended serving size, the one the chart is measuring, is twenty individual candies.

Number of serving sizes in the box: six.

Just out of curiosity, hands up those of you who wouldn’t think twice about polishing off one of these king size boxes of candies in one sitting? Come on, I know you’re out there. Be honest. You, put your hand up; I’ve seen you.

That’s a fair chunk of the people in the audience, I think. I thought so.

Now, hands up those of you who share your box equally with five other individuals. Hmm.. Far fewer. I thought so too.

And we wonder why we’ve got an obesity epidemic?

If You Watch Just One Episode of Doctor Who This Season

Watch what’s on tonight on the CBC at 7 p.m. And watch next week as well, as it’s a two-parter. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances is, to me, the best story of this season; one which stands up and surpasses almost every episode from the classic series. Thanks, Stephen Moffat. You wrote one for the ages.

blog comments powered by Disqus