Monday, November 10, 2014

Mixed herbs - a trip out in the botanical unknown

Baraka Mixed Herbs. (c)
 A few days ago I found a very interesting bag of plant materials for sale in the local food market - a bag with dried plants marked MIXED herbs. It might be a herbal tea, a spice mixture, I am not sure. Looking closer I was wondering what the actual ingredients were, and looked for the ingredient label.  

Baraka Mixed Herbs. (c)
And there is was: "Ingredients: Mixed herbs".  But which ones?  Good ones, tasty ones, toxic ones, allergen ones?  There is no way to know.  The photo shows sage, ox eye daisy (presumably), and a hibiscus, plus a purple-flowered Lamiaceae.  You can find out that the dried plant parts are from Jordan, but not what species they are. Some of the parts look like Hibiscus flowers, but can you be sure?
Baraka Mixed Herbs Nutrition Facts and Ingredient List. (c)
Now, this is of course against any FDA rules when it comes to labeling of foods.  All things that are sold that we eat has to be labeled with exact ingredients and nutrition information. So, here the customers and consumers are kept in the dark... this bag can contain exactly what is says: Mixed herbs of unknown kinds.