Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Don't be a victim of unfair trade practices

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog []
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday []
Natural vinegar is safe to health, it has medicinal properties. Beware of glacial acetic acid sold as vinegar. Also watch out for artificial food coloring, and recycled cooking oil.

Wa-is, coming from the word wise, is the local parlance to describe a person who puts one over his fellowmen. It is taking advantage of others of their situation, ignorance or weaknesses . Here are common cases. It is common in trade and industry, in fact in our everyday relations - formal and informal. Here are some examples.

1. It is the culled piglets (bansot) that are made into lechon. The robust ones are grown for meat.

2. Broken and inferior peanut is ground into peanut butter. It is high in aflatoxin. Healthy nuts are sold whole peanut.

3. Coffee is adulterated with ipil-ipil (Leucaena glauca) seeds. The seeds contain mimosin that retards growth and causes baldness.

4. Papaya seeds are mixed with black pepper. They look similar.

5. Inferior quality fruits such as strawberry, orange and mango are made into jam and puree. Some are not recommended for human consumption.

6. Ordinary milkfish (bangos) is passed on as prized Bonoan bangus from Dagupan. Note that the lower tail of Bonoan bangos is shorter than the other tail. Can you differentiate true salmon from sea salmon?

7. Unscrupulous traders add water and salt to bagoong and patis to increase their volume. Genuine and seasoned bagoong has clear patis on top, and has a characteristic pleasant aroma.
Those red light bulbs in the meat and fish sections are deceiving - they make the goods look fresh.

8. Premium grade fruits are arranged on top of kaing (basket); inside are of inferior grade. This is common in mango. This is true with vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower. Ordinary rice is mixed with premium rice, and passed on as premium grade.

9. Forced ripe fruits are not as sweet as naturally ripened ones. Carburo, a ripening chemical, can be detected. Pick fruits like watermelon with the stem (peduncle) still green.

10. Cabbage grown on the lowlands of Ilocos is brought up to Baguio and passed on as Baguio cabbage which commands a higher price.

11. Before a large animal like cow is sold to the auction market it is first bathed with patis which causes its body to swell and appear fat.

12. Tomatoes are forced to ripe when price is high, This is done by uprooting the whole plant laden with fruits and hanging it upside down until all the fruits, including the immature ones, are ripe.

13. Powdered fruit juices are laced with saccharin, aspartame, nutrasweet and the like, which are artificial sugar. Artificial sugar has been traced to the the cause of many ailments. It is now banned in many states in the US and in Europe. Diet carbonated drinks have artificial sugar in place of natural sugar, that's why they are claimed to be calorie free.

14. Refine salt is made to appear more white by adding lime or CaO. Note: This salt is not recommended for making bagoong. Use natural crushed salt instead.

15. Honey is adulterated with cane sugar. Pure honey when refrigerated does not solidify. Sugar forms a distinct layer in adulterated honey.

16. Unsold meat is made into longganisa, unsold fish is dried or made into bagoong. Otherwise they are again placed in ice to be sold the next day.

17. Be wary of taste test, say lansones or orange. Pick a sample yourself. And hand pick those you are going to buy.

18. Shortselling is common - from a fruit stand to a gas station. Common sense helps, but it's good to have a test weight, or pocket scale.

19. Do you recognize fish caught by dynamite? Double dead or botcha pork or chicken? Fish kill bangos and tilapia? Rely on own experience and expert's advice. Learn more.

20. Imitation is getting closer to genuine. Take car parts. Branded RTWs. China made tools with US, Japan or European made - and locally fabricated. Marikina shoes from China. Don't rely of labels. USA may mean usa (deer). Japan design is not made in Japan, so with US design. These are imitations.

21. Outlumber is passed on as regular lumber. Get a good carpenter to assist you. Check the gauge of the GI sheet you are buying. Gauge 26 is thicker than 28, more so, than gauge 30). Do this to plywood. Specify its thickness, and if marine or ordinary plywood.

22. There hardware products you should be particularly careful when buying them, like electrical and plumbing materials. Beware of substandard quality. The consequences are great.

24. How do you know if you are getting the right seeds and seedlings for your farm? Check the supplier if he is accredited by the Philippine Seedboard (eg, rice, corn, legumes, vegetables). Or company's guarantee. Have your own plant nursery, too.

25. The most rampant dilution practices are in shampoo and liquid soap. A range of 20 to 50 percent water dilution can be passed on to the unwary customer through appealing advertisements, promotions and packaging.

This article is an open list. There are many practices that attest to the other side of commerce and industry. Some may be well-meant but not necessarily ethical. Others may be acceptable to an extent for practical reasons. We cannot totally eliminate contaminants, but we can lower it to a safe level. There is no equipment that lasts forever, but we should not design it for premature obsolescence. A commodity may be beneficial to one but not to another, but in no way should it be harmful. All these attest to a growing syndrome spawned by runaway capitalism and consumerism. Knowing these practices is important to warn people from becoming victims, and to campaign for the eradication of these and many other malpractices. x x x

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