For “Foodie Friday”:
The 9 nastiest things in your supermarket
“Think pink slime is gross? Wait 'til you see what other unappetizing secrets lurk within your grocery store.
1. "Pink slime"
The gross factor: The meat industry likes to call it "lean finely textured beef," but after ABC News ran a story on it, the public just called it what it looks like — pink slime, a mixture of waste meat and fatty parts from higher-quality cuts of beef that have had the fat mechanically removed.
Afterwards, it's treated with ammonia gas to kill Salmonella and E. coli bacteria. Then it gets added to ground beef as a filler. Food microbiologists and meat producers insist that it's safe, but given the public's reaction to the ABC News report, there's an "ick" factor we just can't overcome. The primary producer of pink slime just announced that it's closing three of the plants where pink slime is produced, and Kroger, Safeway, Food Lion, McDonald's and the National School Lunch Program (among others) have all pulled it from their product offerings.
Eat this instead: Organic ground beef is prohibited from containing pink slime, per National Organic Program standards, so it's your safest bet. If you can't find organic, ask the butcher at your grocery store whether their products contain the gunk.
2. Vet meds in beef
The gross factor: Hankering for a burger? Besides a hefty dose of protein, a 2010 report from the United States Department of Agriculture found your beef could also harbor veterinary drugs like antibiotics, Ivermectin, an animal wormer linked to neurological damage in humans, and Flunixin, an anti-inflammatory that can cause kidney damage, stomach and colon ulcers, and blood in the stool of humans. Still hungry? We didn't think so.
Eat this instead: Look for beef from a local grass-fed beef operation that rotates the animals on fresh grass paddocks regularly, and inquire about medicine use. Typically, cows raised this way are much healthier and require fewer drugs. The meat is also more nutritious, too. If you're in the supermarket, opt for organic meats to avoid veterinary drugs in meat.
Related on Rodale.com: The 15 grossest things in your food
3. Heavy metal oatmeal
The gross factor: Sugary and calorie-laden, those convenient instant-oatmeal packets all have one thing in common. They're sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which, according to tests from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, may be contaminated with mercury. The group tested 55 samples of HFCS and found mercury in a third of them at levels three times higher than what the average woman should consume in a day.
Eat this instead: Buy yourself some instant oats, which cook in less time than it takes to microwave a packet of the sugary stuff, and add your own flavorings, like fresh fruit or maple syrup. And buy HFCS-free versions of other foods, as well. The artificial sweetener lurks in seemingly all processed foods.
4. Filthy shrimp
The gross factor: Food safety experts refer to imported shrimp as the dirtiest of the Seafood's Dirty Dozen list, and it's not hard to see why when you consider the common contaminants: Antibiotics, cleaning chemicals used in farmed shrimp pens, residues of toxic pesticides banned in the U.S., and pieces of insects. Less than 2 percent of all imported seafood is inspected — clearly, that's a problem.
Eat this instead: Look for domestic shrimp. Unfortunately, 70 percent of domestic shrimp comes from the Gulf of Mexico, and the recent oil spill may have long-term impacts on its shrimp stocks. But shrimp can be purchased from Texas, the East Coast, Maine and the Carolinas, so you still have options.
Related on Rodale.com: 3 surprising reasons to give up soda
5. MRSA in the meat aisle
The gross factor: Hard-to-treat, antibiotic-resistant infections are no joke. Superbug strains like MRSA are on the rise, infecting 185,000 people — and killing 17,000 people — annually in the U.S. Thought to proliferate on factory farms where antibiotics are overused to boost animal growth, a January 2012 study from Iowa State University found that the dangerous organisms wind up in supermarket meat, too. The dangerous MRSA strain lingered in 7 percent of supermarket pork samples tested. The bacteria die during proper cooking, but improper handling could leave you infected. The spike in superbug infections is largely blamed on antibiotic abuse in factory farms that supply most supermarkets.
Eat this instead: The Iowa state researchers found MRSA in conventional meat and store-bought "antibiotic-free" meat likely contaminated at the processing plant. Search LocalHarvest.org to source meat from small-scale producers who don't use antibiotics or huge processing plants.
6. Pregnancy hormones in a can
The gross factor: Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that acts like the hormone estrogen in your body, is used to create the epoxy linings of canned food. What food processors don't tell you is that the chemical was created over 70 years ago as a drug that was intended to promote healthy pregnancies. Though it was never used as a drug, the food industry saw no problem adding this pregnancy drug to a wide range of products, including canned food linings and plastic food containers.
"Low levels of BPA exposure has been linked to a wide range of adverse health effects, including abnormal development of reproductive organs, behavior problems in children, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic changes that result in altered insulin levels, which leads to diabetes," says Sarah Janssen, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. And it’s use in canned food is the number one reason why 90 percent of Americans have it in their bodies.
Eat this instead: Look for products in glass bottles or aseptic cartons. Canned food manufacturers are in the process of switching over to BPA-free cans, but because those cans are produced in facilities that also produce BPA-based can linings, there's no way to keep BPA-free cans from becoming contaminated.
Related on Rodale.com: The breast cancer causer in your cabinet
7. Bacteria-infused turkey
The gross factor: Turkey marinated in MRSA? It's true. A 2011 study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that half of the U.S. supermarket meat sampled contain staph bacteria, including potentially lethal MRSA. Turkey was the worst offender: Nearly 80 percent of turkey products samples contain staph bacteria. Pork (42 percent) was next in line in terms of bacterial contamination, followed by chicken (41 percent), and beef (37 percent). Researchers ID the overuse of antibiotics as the culprit.
Eat this instead: If you serve meat for Thanksgiving, invest in an organic, pastured turkey, such as one from Ayrshire Farm in Maryland.
8. Moldy berries
The gross factor: If pregnancy hormones in your canned fruit isn't enough to make you turn to fresh, consider this: The FDA legally allows up to 60 percent of canned or frozen blackberries and raspberries to contain mold. Canned fruit and vegetable juices are allowed to contain up to 15 percent mold.
Eat this instead: Go for fresh! When berries are in season, stock up and freeze them yourself to eat throughout the winter. To freeze them, just spread fruits out on a cookie sheet, set the sheet in your freezer for a few hours, then transfer the berries to a glass jar or other airtight, freezer-safe container.
9. Rocket fuel in lettuce
The gross factor: Lettuce is a great source of antioxidants, and thanks to the great state of California, we can now eat it all year long. However, much of the lettuce grown in California is irrigated with water from the Colorado River. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Colorado River water is contaminated with low levels of perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel known to harm thyroid function, and that perchlorate can be taken up inside lettuce plants. A separate study from the Environmental Working Group found perchlorate in 50 percent of store-bought winter lettuce samples.
Eat this instead: Perchlorate is hard to avoid, but some of the highest levels in the country have been found in California's agricultural regions. If you eat locally and in season, you can ask your local farmers whether it’s a problem in their irrigation water supply.” From: http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/the-9-nastiest-things-in-your-supermarket# Story by Emily Main and Leah Zerbe. This article originally appeared on Rodale.com and is reprinted here with permission.
Here are more:
“Potted meat is not some strange foreign delicacy. In fact, this inexpensive meat product produced by Hormel is available at most any North American grocery store.
However, when it comes to grossness, this well-known product rivals anything you’ll find in a third world country. A check of the ingredients listed on the label is proof enough: mechanically separated chicken, beef tripe, partially defatted cooked beef fatty tissue, beef hearts, water, partially defatted cooked pork fatty tissue, salt, and less than 2 percent: mustard, natural flavorings, dried garlic, dextrose, sodium erythorbate, and sodium nitrite. Yummy!” Read more at: http://www.toptenz.net/top-ten-grossest-foods.php#s4sFStI0aCd4FIjP.99
Bread: Duck Feathers and Human Hair
“L-Cysteine is an amino acid often used in dough conditioners, which softens mass-produced breads. It is made from human hair or duck feathers. Although 80 percent of L-cysteine is made of human hair, McDonald's uses the duck feather variety in its Baked Hot Apple Pie and Warm Cinnamon Roll.”
Potato Chips: Cleaning Agents
“Sodium bisulfite is used in most toilet boil cleaning agents. It's also used to extend the shelf-life and bleach out the discoloration of potato chips.”
“The FDA says its legally OK to have up to 19 maggots and 74 mites in a 3.5-ounce can of mushrooms.”
Meat glue safety and labeling defended by industry
Beef tenderloin (Rusty Hill )
"Meat glue" has been around for decades, but, like "pink slime," the product has recently bubbled to the surface of public consciousness in a way that's making the meat industry uneasy.
Recent news reports have questioned the product's safety and--as happened with pink slime--industry giants have responded by distancing themselves from the product. Wednesday, Cargill and Tyson assured customers that they don't use it in any of their meat products.
Is "Meat Glue" As Gross As It Sounds?
Three strips of beef that have been bound together with "meat glue" and rolled into a log, in preparation for being sliced into steak-like pieces. The Boathouse at Sunday Park/Wikimedia Commons
Update (Friday, June 8): Tom Philpott joined Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air to discuss "meat glue", "pink slime", and other issues affecting the meat industry. Listen to the interview here. (http://www.npr.org/2012/06/07/154504565/assessing-consumer-concerns-about-the-meat-industry )
"If you were disturbed to hear about 'pink slime' in your burger, you'll want to know about 'meat glue,' because a fat, rare-cooked filet mignon may not be what it seems," ABC News' Bay Area affiliate gasped in a video last week. (http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/consumer&id=8642900)
First reaction: Ooh, gross. Reaction upon a bit of reflection: Meat glue, an enzyme known as transglutaminase, is indeed a trick up the meat industry's sleeve, but a relatively minor one in the grand scheme.
A couple of weeks ago, I named four common industry practices that are "grosser than pink slime" (Pink slime itself is pretty gross.) Here's a fifth: Every year, dairy and beef cows are fed around 2 billion pounds of chicken litter—chicken shit, dead chickens, and leftover feeds, which contains cow protein. Cows being fed chicken shit is deeply gross; cows eating cow protein is downright scary.
But using transglutaminase to glue pieces of meat together? It can be a dodgy practice, but it doesn't make the cut.” More at: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/05/meat-glue-gross-it-sounds “
Is Your Meat Made With Meat Glue?
“In the 1980s Tropicana coined the phrase “not from concentrate” to distinguish its pasteurized orange juice from the cheaper reconstituted “from concentrate” juice that began appearing alongside it in the refrigerator section of supermarkets. The idea was to convince consumers that pasteurized orange juice is a fresher, overall better product and therefore worth the higher price. It worked. Over the next five years sales of Tropicana’s pasteurized juice doubled and profits almost tripled.
In fact, “not from concentrate,” a.k.a pasteurized orange juice, is not more expensive than “from concentrate” because it is closer to fresh squeezed. Rather, it is because storing full strength pasteurized orange juice is more costly and elaborate than storing the space saving concentrate from which “from concentrate” is made. The technology of choice at the moment is aseptic storage, which involves stripping the juice of oxygen, a process known as “deaeration,” so it doesn’t oxidize in the million gallon tanks in which it can be kept for upwards of a year.
When the juice is stripped of oxygen it is also stripped of flavor providing chemicals. Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that formulate perfumes for Dior and Calvin Klein, to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh. Flavor packs aren’t listed as an ingredient on the label because technically they are derived from orange essence and oil. Yet those in the industry will tell you that the flavor packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange juice, resemble nothing found in nature.
The packs added to juice earmarked for the North American market tend to contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate, a chemical in the fragrance of fresh squeezed orange juice that, juice companies have discovered, Americans favor. Mexicans and Brazilians have a different palate. Flavor packs fabricated for juice geared to these markets therefore highlight different chemicals, the decanals say, or terpene compounds such as valencine.
Or maybe you want to try something new for breakfast: a whole Florida Valencia orange. It’s higher in vitamin C than a glass of processed juice and the flavor is incomparable. The thick-skinned, easy to peel and separate Navel has been marketed as the eating orange of choice. But Navels have a lackluster flavor compared to the Valencia.
Sampling a Florida Valencia is a timely and good experiment, if only to refresh your senses and awaken them to the taste that your favorite brand of orange juice strives to imitate. Sure a whole Valencia orange may be messy, but all things considered, so is a glass of OJ produced by any of the major labels.” From: http://civileats.com/2009/05/06/freshly-squeezed-the-truth-about-orange-juice-in-boxes/
From Me: This is why I bought my auger juicer. Oranges, apples, plums, or any fruit tastes better when freshly juiced, and not processed.
On This Day:
New state west of the Mississippi, Aug 10, 1821:
“Missouri enters the Union as the 24th state--and the first located entirely west of the Mississippi River.
Named for one of the Native American groups that once lived in the territory, Missouri became a U.S. possession as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. In 1817, Missouri Territory applied for statehood, but the question of whether it would be slave or free delayed approval by Congress. In 1820, the Missouri Compromise was reached, admitting Missouri as a slave state but excluding slavery from the other Louisiana Purchase lands north of Missouri's southern border. Missouri's August 1821 entrance into the Union as a slave state was met with disapproval by many of its citizens.
In 1861, when other slave states seceded from the Union, Missouri chose to remain; although a provincial government was established in the next year by Confederate sympathizers. During the war, Missourians were split in their allegiances, supplying both Union and Confederate forces with troops. Lawlessness persisted during this period, and Missouri-born Confederate guerrillas such as Jesse James continued this lawlessness after the South's defeat. With the ratification of Missouri's new constitution by the citizens of the state in 1875, the old divisions were finally put to rest.”
Smithsonian Institution created, Aug 10, 1846:
“After a decade of debate about how best to spend a bequest left to America from an obscure English scientist, President James K. Polk signs the Smithsonian Institution Act into law.
Today, the Smithsonian is composed of 19 museums and galleries including the recently announced National Museum of African American History and Culture, nine research facilities throughout the United States and the world, and the national zoo. Besides the original Smithsonian Institution Building, popularly known as the "Castle," visitors to Washington, D.C., tour the National Museum of Natural History, which houses the natural science collections, the National Zoological Park, and the National Portrait Gallery. The National Museum of American History houses the original Star-Spangled Banner and other artifacts of U.S. history. The National Air and Space Museum has the distinction of being the most visited museum in the world, exhibiting such marvels of aviation and space history as the Wright brothers' plane and Freedom 7, the space capsule that took the first American into space. John Smithson, the Smithsonian Institution's great benefactor, is interred in a tomb in the Smithsonian Building.”
Three-ship collision causes oil spill, Aug 10, 1993:
“A rare collision of three ships in Tampa Bay, Florida, results in a spill of 336,000 gallons of fuel oil on this day in 1993. Fortunately, a combination of favorable weather conditions and preparedness kept the damage to a minimum.
It was about 6 a.m. when two fuel barges heading into Tampa Bay's harbor and one phosphate freighter heading out collided. The collision caused a fire on the Maritrans barge Ocean 255, crippling the ship, which was carrying 8 million gallons of gas and diesel fuel. Although it took nearly 16 hours to put out, no one onboard was killed. However, more than 300,000 gallons of oil were dumped into Tampa Bay.
This incident marked the first use of a computerized trajectory model to track an oil spill. Using data on wind, weather and the movement of tides, the extent of a spill could be predicted for the first time. Despite the limits of the data, the trajectory model proved to be accurate over a six-hour time period. On this day, the model showed that the tides and wind were pushing the massive spill away from the shore.
While the oil remained at sea, response teams prepared for the inevitable time when the spill would reach the coast. Crews with loaders and shovels were present to pick up the black oil as it hit the Pinellas County beaches. Luckily, the oil mostly missed the thick mangrove forests on the coast--these would have been far more difficult to clean. Additionally, local residents had just completed training by the Pinellas Seabird Rehabilitation Center (PSRC) that prepared them for oil spills. Three thousand volunteers working for the PSRC saved virtually all of the native wildlife that was affected by the disaster.
This oil spill was the first major one following the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska. New federal legislation that had been passed in the aftermath of the Valdez disaster assisted in the effort to recover millions of dollars from the ship owners to pay for the cleanup efforts.”
Misty and I went to get Jay, and he brought along his weed whacker. The place where we had the burn pile had tall grass growing through it, and he wanted to tidy it up. It couldn’t be mowed, as there might be nails or bits of metal in it. Well, we still had a lot more pine needles to rake up and dump on the pile and I knew that would kill that tall grass. So that is what we did, but it was a bit too windy to burn.
We were really supposed to be fixing two sliding doors. The mirrored sliding one on my closet been binding and screeching, and we found out that the contractors who installed it had used panhead, instead of countersunk screws. We vacuumed the track and replaced the screws with the right ones, and it works fine now.
I made Jay some juice with apples and my auger juicer, and he said how much better it tasted than the bottled variety. I try to make some every day---“an apple a day….”
The other sliding door that has become difficult to slide, is the side door on the van, but that had to wait for another day.