I was recently reading an article in Food Australia which discussed how the words we use everyday may not mean the same thing to everyone.
The word “milk” would represent a specific thing in the minds of most people born in Australia, but is likely to mean something entirely different to those born overseas. Milk in this country is assumed by most to be the product that occurs from milking a cow and is white. Now is that milk or is it the stuff that comes out of the plastic bottles from the supermarket that has been heated, cooled and pressured?
I grew up on a farm and was fortunate enough to be able to drink milk straight from the cow, but there are people in this country who actually have no idea that this is where milk comes from.
Milk is just an example, but when we stop and think about it, this word will mean different things to different people. To someone from Asia, milk may actually be the white liquid produced from squeezing soy beans and for others it will be what results when camels are milked.
This also applies to many of the foods we eat, so we have to be very careful what we call our foods and how we label them.
Although it is not a food, a brand new perfume highlights this perfectly. This new perfume is called Si and has a beautiful as on the TV with Cate Blanchet. This word means Yes in Spanish. It seems like a terrific name for a new perfume from a very large perfume company.
The problem is that this word, when pronounced a specific way, can mean “death” in Mandarin.
So this huge company has effective set this product up to not be purchased by a large percentage of the world female population. All because it did not make sure that the words used were clearly understood by all. That is just bad business.
So when using words to describe a food or even a process, ensure that they are easily understood by those you are talking with, regardless of whether it is on a food label or it communicating with your staff or other stakeholders.
This article has been written by Rachelle Williams – The Green Food Safety Coach