Saturday, June 28, 2008

When idiocy takes hold

One of the main items I keep in my pantry is the full range of essences and colourings made by Queen Fine Foods. If you live in Australia you probably know them really well yourself - they are famours for their Natural Vanilla Essence, and in more recent years, their range has expanded to include flavourings like Almond Essence, Orange Essence, Rose Water Essence and so on.

I recently went to my local Food For Less store, which is owned by Woolworths, to stock up on vanilla. I looked up and down the baking aisle for the vanilla essence and strawberry flavouring but never found it. I thought nothing of it until I mentioned it to my neighbour who told me Woolworths had removed the essences because of the recent scare mongering in the media over kids buying the stuff instead of booze.

What????

I thought the exact same thing. So the next time I was at the supermarket I asked the checkout guy whether they were now keeping the vanilla essence and pink food colouring behind the counter - with the knives, cigarettes and other controlled items. You know what he told me? Food For Less isn't stocking those items at all any more because of the Government!

What????

I went marching down to Coles, which is situated a block away, and went straight to their baking aisle. Lo and behold - the entire range of Queen Fine Food items was still in pride of place on the shelf (except for a couple of items that had sold out that day). I knew Lemon Essence and Orange Essence were the offending items in question, so I checked the product information on each - indeed, they contained 69% alcohol. But we're talking about a 59ml bottle, people!!! I checked the Strawberry Essence - it only has 3% alcohol, so no worries there.

I came stomping home to my husband and told him we should buy up all the Lemon essence, tip it into some Lemonade, and see if we can get drunk on it just to prove a point.

Food For Less Randwick was recently victim of a stupid pipe bomb attack by kids no older than 13-16 years. I can't help thinking they are still recovering from that event and perhaps they don't want to sell anything that would promote criminal behaviour amongst our skurrilous junvenile community. But to delete an entire product line is a complete overreaction. If they want to control the sale of those items, they should be put behind the counter. Honestly, I do think it's easier to get a packet of cigarettes in my neighbourhood than it is to buy a bottle of vanilla essence. Society has gone mad!

My solution to this problem is simple: I rang Queen Fine Foods (http://www.queenessences.com.au/) and ordered my vanilla from them direct. I'm not letting Woolworths's stupidity let this brilliant Aussie company go under. We saw Coles do it to the people that made junket. If your supermarket gets silly about food colourings and flavourings, PLEASE!, make a complaint before this silly witch hunt ruins baking for all of us.

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