November 21, 2006

No Dragon in that Sausage?

Trading standards officers have ordered the Black Mountains Smokery in Powys, Wales to change the name of its Welsh Dragon sausages on the grounds that they are made with pork, not dragon meat. I'm all for truth in advertising and proper labeling, but it is hard to believe that many consumers have been misled. Even the dullest consumer presumably knows that dragon meat is extraordinarily rare, and, at least in Wales, it seems reasonable to expect consumers to know that the dragon is a symbol of Wales. I'm not surprised that the manufacturer reports that it has received no complaints about the absence of dragon meat from its products.

Beyond the lack of common sense, what I find peculiar is the assumption that the mention of an animal in a brand name implies that the product contains that animal. Do people assume that Koala™ hose connectors are made from koalas, that Grizzly™ salmon oil is made from grizzly bears, or that Deer™ red chilis contain venaison? I just hope that the trading standards people don't start regulating the Chinese names of foods. One of my favorite Chinese words, and foods, is 龍蝦 "lobster" (Cantonese luŋ4 ha1, Mandarin lóng xiā), literally "dragon shrimp".

Posted by Bill Poser at November 21, 2006 02:31 AM