An eagle-eyed TikToker spotted a strange warning on his Great Value brand food — and it has millions running to their pantry to check their own food labels.
Paden Ferguson (@padiano) gained over 5.5 million views, 427,000 likes and 12,000 shocked comments when he uploaded his confusing findings to his account.
Now, much like the mom who demanded that Walmart answer for their “horrifying” baby toy and its wildly inappropriate jokes, Paden’s eyebrow-raising video is going viral.
Paden first noticed the strange ingredient warning on a bag of Great Value mini marshmallows.
“Hey, when was the last time we checked in on Great Value brand at Walmart? Because I have some concerns,” Paden’s video begins.
On the front of the marshmallow bag, everything looks normal — but when Paden flips the bag over and looks closely beneath the Nutrition Facts table, he points out the unusual warning.
“MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF TILAPIA,” the warning reads. “CONTAINS A BIOENGINEERED FOOD INGREDIENT.”
“Why? What?” Paden exclaims — shock that was echoed by thousands and thousands of TikTokers.
“not my bf being deathly allergic to talapia 😳 thanks for the heads up,” one user wrote.
“as a vegetarian….I will be double checking the ingredients from now on 🥲,” another user commented.
But some had theories as to why tilapia might find its way into a bag of marshmallows.
“The gelatin they use is fish based instead of beef based,” speculated one user.
“fish gelatin instead of beef gelatin to keep it kosher,” claimed another user.
“I think it’s because the processing plant also manufactures those items and it’s a CYA [cover your a**] in case someone is allergic,” theorized another user.
“Its cause they make all these items in one factory, particles travel and cross contamination can happen,” added another.
However, many TikTokers tipped Paden off on another strange Great Value ingredient warning.
“There’s also traces of anchovies in their syrup 🙃,” one such comment read.
“Great Value, you’ve got some explaining to do,” Paden’s follow-up video begins, this time in a Walmart aisle. The TikToker holds up a bottle of butter-flavored syrup, then flips it around to the back.
Sure enough, beneath the list of ingredients, a warning reads “MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF MILK, EGGS, ANCHOVIES, WHEAT AND SOY.”
“There’s no butter in the butter-flavored syrup,” Paden says, “but there might be anchovies!”
TikTokers were just as shocked by this revelation as the great mini-marshmallow mystery.
“When I tell you I ran to my pantry 😭,” one user wrote.
“Now go look at the anchovies and see if it may contain syrup 😂,” joked another user.
Just like with the tilapia warning, many TikTokers speculated as to why Great Value syrup might contain a fishy ingredient.
“‘may contain’ on any product just means it’s processed in the same facility as products that use those ingredients. it’s for cross contamination,” one user theorized.
“Anchovies are a potent source of glutamates, which give a lot of umami flavor. They’re practically flavor enhancers with fins,” another speculated.
This isn’t the first time internet users have spotted this strange ingredient warning and pondered the reasons anchovies would find their way into syrup.
In 2017, Reddit users speculated that Great Value syrup is likely produced on the same line as Worcestershire sauce, hence the possibility of anchovies.
That same year, food experts on Quora posited that anchovies are a common “secret ingredient” for many foods and sauces, as they pack a lot of flavor for very little cost — perhaps giving some body and saltiness to some pancake syrups.
Paden later returned to Walmart at the behest of viewers, this time to investigate another strange warning on the back of a pack of Great Value chips.
“WARNING: Consuming this product can expose you to chemicals including acrylamide, which are known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/food,” the label reads.
But according to some TikTokers, Great Value isn’t the only brand with surprising ingredient warnings.
“I just bought custard raisin bread from World Market and the warning said ‘may contain mustard,'” one user shared.
“look at the back of gatorade, mine said contains milk lol like wth 😳,” another user added.
In The Know reached out to Walmart for comment but did not receive a response at the time of this article’s publication.
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