02 August 2004

Heinz Catsup

Just recently one of my cousins sent an email around the family telling us all that we should boycott Heinz products because of John Kerry and his wife Theresa Heinz-Kerry. In part the post blamed Kerry for the (NAFTA related) move of a Heinz plant to Mexico; and it also implied the purchase of Heinz catsup would put money in the pockets of the Democratic candidate for President. The discussion that ensued turned out to be a enlightening example of why you should never take a political statement at face value.

Happily I seem to have raised daughters who refused to make snap judgements without checking for facts. Gillianne, the youngest, went online to check out the Heinz company. Here are her comments:

"Don't change your mind too quickly... Or not for the forwarded reasons. I looked up the Heinz company website (http://www.heinz.com/) and they had the following statement posted under their "newsroom" link: In light of some misleading speculation, the H. J. Heinz Company would like to make clear that neither Mrs. Teresa Heinz Kerry, Senator John Kerry nor any member of their family is involved in the management or board of the H. J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ). They have no involvement in the Heinz® Ketchup business or any of the company’s other brands or products.The H. J. Heinz Company, in accordance with its corporate governance policies, is a nonpartisan organization."

She further found out that Ms. Heinz-Kerry & the entire Heinz family has less than 4% stock in the corporation, that since 1987 there have been no Heinz family members in control positions in the company, and that over the last seven years the Heinz company has actually donated more to Republican campaigns ($96,000) than to Democratic campaigns ($54,000).

Hmmmm. Maybe you ought to boycott that catsup after all. I would, but I don't use it. I buy an organic catsup called "Muir Glen" from the health food store. It tastes far better than Heinz.

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