Israel Says Heinz Isn’t Making Ketchup, Just ‘Tomato Seasoning’
Looking for Heinz ketchup in Israel? Maybe check next to the onion powder.
Israel’s Health Ministry recently ruled that Heinz can no longer label their tomato-based condiment as “Ketchup” in Hebrew. Instead, they’ll have to refer to the product as “tomato seasoning.” The decision will have no effect on the ketchup’s English labeling—possibly because, as far as I’m aware, in English, “tomato seasoning” doesn’t come in liquid form.
The ruling comes after Israel’s largest ketchup brand, Osem, began an anti-Heinz campaign, claiming that their American-based competitor doesn’t contain enough tomatoes to be considered “ketchup” under the Israeli definition. According to Newsweek, tests conducted by Osem found that Heinz ketchup contained only 21 percent tomato concentrate, well below Israeli food standards of 41 percent.
Obviously, Heinz registered some displeasure with Osem’s business tactics, describing the brand as having a “monopoly” and suggesting “the Israeli standard for ketchup has yet to be brought in line with U.S. and European accepted international standards.” Heinz’s Israeli distributor is now filing their own petition to get the definition of ketchup changed, allowing their condiment back in the ketchup club. Despite their previous decision, the Health Ministry’s food division is supposedly onboard with the change.
The whole argument is kind of ironic being that tomatoes weren’t even added to ketchup until the 1700s. But for now, maybe Heinz can see if they can use some sort of Hebrew equivalent to the word “catsup.”
[h/t Grub Street]