Soft drinks, tough issues

May 1, 2011
Have you seen the commercial on television from the group of soft drink manufacturers, talking about how they are making nutritional information...

Have you seen the commercial on television from the group of soft drink manufacturers, talking about how they are making nutritional information, like the number of calories in a beverage, more visible on the beverage container?

The ad caught my eye at first because it showed products from the two soft-drink giants, Coca Cola and Pepsi, in close succession. I wondered out loud what kind of a commercial would be promoting both of those fiercely competitive brands.

So I sat up and paid attention to the rest of the commercial, and by the end was impressed with its apparently altruistic intentions. In all honesty, I have no idea how much political pressure or legal obligation motivated these soft-drink manufacturers to produce the spot. But as an individual who tries to be conscious of my own health habits, I was pleased to learn that the caloric content of soft drinks will now be more visible than it has been in the past.

Seeing that commercial was another example of an experience I have had many times over the past several years. That is, the collision of my personal and professional lives. Just a few minutes after seeing that ad, my brain turned toward the world of structured cabling. I had just recently heard about the counterfeiters who used copper-clad aluminum rather than solid copper when concocting some twisted-pair cable that they passed off as Category 5e.

We were able to show you that copper-clad aluminum, as well as the cable jacket and the box in which it was packaged, in last month’s issue. Of particular note is that the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) logo appears on the box. And on the cable jacket is ink-stamped “UL Verified Cat5e.” As we have reported in this magazine and online, brazen counterfeiters do not hesitate to use the term “UL” and the UL logo in an attempt to portray a cable as legitimate. Underwriters Laboratories is taking measures to make such ripoffs more difficult for the counterfeiters to achieve.

But I also have to admit that while doing my best to provide you with information that is useful, several times I have had to re-research the meanings of “verified” and “certified” as they apply to independent-laboratory tests conducted on cabling products and systems.

So in the spirit of that soft-drink commercial I like so much, I’m planning to provide you with clear, practical information about the markings you see on cables and boxes. Look for it in this magazine soon.

PATRICK McLAUGHLIN
Chief Editor
[email protected]

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