USDA, Part 2; E. Coli, Salmonella? No Problem!

When we’re cooking something for ourselves, or having friends over for a bite, we would never cook something that looks a little off color or maybe smells a little “funny”, right? The last thing we want is a trip to the emergency room, or worse, for one of our friends. Magnify that times 100 for restaurants, cafeterias and other food-service establishments. One could logically assume that the USDA holds beef grinders/slaughterhouses to the same basic standard. But that is not the case.

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The USDA… A Study in Bureaucracy, Part 1

I started this blog just a few days ago simply to put some great recipes out there, educate (and be educated by) those who care, and share some stories and musings from my lifelong journey as a foodie. But something happened on my way to the party. I stumbled across the websites for the USDA and it’s partner in crime, the FDA.

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Pink Slime…It’s in your beef

I hope you’re not having hamburger tonight…because this story might change your dinner plans. One of the key suppliers of hamburger “meat” is coming under fire as tests show a disturbing number of E. coli and salmonella pathogens, according to a disturbing report in the New York Times. Want to know why I put “meat” in quotes?
Are you sure?

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We’re eating WHAT???

Ever heard of Castoreum? Probably not, since the FDA allows food manufacturers to list it on the ingredients label as “natural flavoring”. What is Castoreum?  Thought you’d never ask!  It’s a bitter, orange-brown, odoriferous, oily secretion, found in two  sacs between the anus and the external genitals of beavers. The  discharge of the castor sac is combined with the beaver’s urine, and  used during scent marking of territory. If that doesn’t make you say “YUM”, what will?

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Grapefruit Juice and Pills: A Bad Mix!

Every now and then I cruise through the FDA website because, well, I’m always surprised by what I find there. I stumbled across this little gem last week, and figured I’d put it out there. I never heard a single word about this anywhere. But this morning I woke up only to be inundated with “it’s National Cereal Day…”. Gee, where are our media’s priorities anymore?

Here you go, straight from the FDA…

Grapefruit juice and fresh grapefruit can interfere with the action of some prescription drugs, as well as a few non-prescription drugs.

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Pardon the interruption

Just a quick note about this blog…

I’m just getting started on this project, and I wanted to post at least 12 or so recipes right away to get things rolling. However, in the midst of putting together my second recipe, I knocked my camera into a container of chicken stock. It is now at the camera shop for evaluation. I’m anxiously awaiting the prognosis as I write this.

In the meantime, I’m using the opportunity to post as much of the non-visual-oriented content as I can. Thus, the Food Science section is moving right along. As soon as I get my camera situation taken care of, I’ll be posting away!

Stay tuned and thank you for stopping by. You’re always welcome in my kitchen…

High Fructose Corn Syrup

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a fructose-glucose liquid nutritive sweetener alternative to sucrose (common table sugar) first introduced to the food and beverage industry in the 1970s. Nutritive sweeteners are used in foods and beverages for many reasons, including sweetness, mouthfeel, moisture control, bulk, browning, carmelization, and color. It is not meaningfully different in composition or metabolism from other fructose-glucose sweeteners like sugar, honey, and fruit juice concentrates. HFCS was widely embraced by food formulators, and its use grew between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s, principally as a replacement for sugar. HFCS use today is nearly equivalent to sucrose use in the United States.

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Food Allergy

Food allergies affect nearly 4% of teens and adults and 5% of children.  Food allergies arise from sensitivity to chemical compounds (proteins) in food. They develop after you are exposed to a food protein that your body thinks is harmful. The first time you eat the food containing the protein, your immune system responds by creating specific disease-fighting antibodies (called immunoglobulin E or IgE). When you eat the food again, it triggers the release of these antibodies and other chemicals, including histamine, in an effort to expel the protein “invader” from your body. Histamine is a powerful chemical that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system.

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Food Intolerance

Food intolerance is often called “non-allergic food sensitivity” and is generally reserved for adverse reactions to food that do not involve the immune system. About 10% of people experience adverse reactions to specific foods, which are often chronic and may cause severe illness. Food intolerance is not synonymous with food allergy. Simply put, food allergies involve the immune system, food intolerance involves the digestive system.

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