Archive - March 2010

Restaurant Calorie Shock to go Nationwide

Really, that many calories?Beginning in 2011, restaurant chains with 20 or more retail stores will be required to disclose menu calorie counts on their food items, as well as a posted reminder of the Agriculture Department’s recommended 2,000-calorie daily intake. Also required are labels on food items in vending machines, drive-through restaurants, food coupons, buffets, and cocktail drink menus.

The new federal law means that even if a restaurant chain has only a few outlets in one state, the mandated menu labeling is still required if they have 20 or more locations with the same name nationwide. The chains will not have to post calorie information for daily specials or limited offers.

The new requirement is inclusive in President Obama’s recently passed health care legislation; the government’s stated goal is to aid American families in their own health decisions with nutrition and prevention information. The new federal rules are patterned after already existing initiatives in New York, Oregon, California, New Jersey, and scores other cities and states across the nation, but the federal mandate will trump previous state and city rules.

“People will be able to see that the order of chili cheese fries they are considering will be 3,000 calories,” said nutrition advocate Margo Wootan, who helped write the bill.

Health conscious customers may think twice about those chili cheese fries when they realize that in one fell swoop they’d be 1,000 calories over the Agriculture Department’s recommended 2,000-calorie intake for the entire day.

The National Restaurant Association — who lobbied against menu labeling on state initiatives — backed the federal mandate to avoid conflicting requirements adopted by various states and cities. As Sue Hensley, a spokeswoman for the NRA points out: “The association and the industry were supportive because consumers will see the same types of information in more than 200,000 restaurant locations across the country.”

“I think it is an historic development,” said Kelly D. Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale. Consumers spend more than half their food dollars outside of the home, he said, “and when people eat away from home they eat more and they eat worse. And part of the reason may be because they don’t know what’s in fast foods, and they’re often shocked to find out.”

To get an idea of the impact that 3,000 calorie order of chili cheese fries would have in your daily diet, let’s calculate what’s known as your basal metabolic rate — the amount of calories you body burns just to keep your heart and lungs working.

Generally speaking, men burn more calories per day than women, but to arrive at a crude but simple estimate of your basal metabolic rate, multiply your body weight times 10, and then add that sum to your body weight. In other words, if you weigh 120 lbs, the equation is 120 x 10 = 1,200 + 2 x 120 = 1,440. That means that all calories consumed over 1,440 will turn to fat — unless you increase your level of physical activity. Suddenly that 560 calorie Big Mac takes on new meaning. And remember, it order to lose one pound you must burn off 3500 calories.

Not everyone is pleased by the new menu mandate. “Frankly, it seems to me that whether I’m buying an apple or a Big Mac from McDonald’s, if they want to sell it to me without any information, I have a perfect right to buy it,” said Sam Kazman, general counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market advocacy group. “This simply is not a federal issue.”

Based on a study by researchers at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, people who used the calorie information available at fast-food chain restaurants in New York City bought 106 fewer calories’ worth of food at lunch than those who didn’t see or use the calorie counts, but only 15% of customers say they used the information.

The study also revealed that the overall calories purchased decreased at nine food chains, and dropped significantly at McDonald’s, Au Bon Pain, KFC and Starbucks.

Panera Bread has already included calorie information on its menu boards at its 585 company-owned stores, way ahead of the 2011 mandate. Denny’s has created a Fit Fare menu, and Applebee’s has added new items to its Under 500 Calorie menu.

The question is, will anyone enforce this new mandate. A recent study revealed that some individual restaurant items listed on menus contained up to 200% of the stated caloric values, with side dishes having 245% more of the stated values than the entrees they accompanied.

According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, a study of major chain restaurants found 29 quick-serve and sit-down restaurant foods averaged 18 percent more of the stated caloric values on menus — and frozen grocery store dinners had eight per cent more calories than the labels stated.

Some experts claim that it could take up to two years before the menu guidelines are actually issued. In mean time, we can have fun pretending ignorance is bliss at our favorite restaurant. Bon Appétit.

Engineered Nanomaterials in our Food Supply are Here to Stay

Is there something on our food?

Is there something going on with our food?

Last year, a Friends of the Earth report disclosed that untested nanotechnology is being used in more than 100 food products, food packaging and contact materials currently on the shelf without warning or FDA testing.

Supermarkets currently stock an unknown amount of nano-food products, and there is no mandatory product labeling requirement in the U.S. or anywhere in the world.

Although the FDA denies nano-food products are sold in the U.S., some of the agency’s own safety experts dispute the FDA’s official claim and reference scientific studies published in food science journals, and foreign food safety reports.

Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have shown that nanoparticles pose potential risks to human health; among the risks are possible DNA damage that can lead to cancer and heart and brain disease.

Although the properties of nanoparticles are governed by quantum mechanics, nanoparticles can be found today in the produce section of large grocery store chains and vegetable wholesalers.

A researcher — who requested not to be identified — with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and member of a group that examined Central and South American farms and packers that ship fruits and vegetables into the U.S. and Canada, claims apples, pears, peppers, cucumbers and other fruit and vegetables are being coated with a thin, wax-like nanocoating to extend shelf-life. The edible nanomaterial skin extends the color and flavor of the fruit.

“We found no indication that the nanocoating, which is manufactured in Asia, has ever been tested for health effects,” said the researcher.

Scientific groups, consumer activists and several international food manufactures told a science committee of the British House of Lords that engineered nanoparticles were already being sold in salad dressings; sauces; diet beverages; and boxed cake, muffin and pancakes mixes, with hundreds of additional items expected in stores by the end of the year.

Kraft Foods has established the Nanotek Consortium, a collaboration of 15 universities and national research labs, and almost twenty of the world’s largest food manufacturers, including Nestlé, Hershey, Cargill, Campbell Soup, Sara Lee, and H.J. Heinz, have in-house nano-labs, or have contracts with major universities to conduct nano-related food research.

Future Food – is it a Lab or a Kitchen?

Chef Ben and Omar on Future FoodIs it a science show? No it’s not. It’s actually a cooking show. Starting March 30, the chefs of tomorrow, Homaro Cantu and Ben Roche, will take on a weekly challenge to make the impossible possible – healthy junk food, seafood without fish, even edible product packaging. Extreme cuisine at its finest will be showcased on their exciting TV show aptly called “Future Food.”

Both hosts already have a reputation for being on the slightly eccentric side when it comes to cooking. Some of you may recognize them from the Battle of the Beets episode of Iron Chef America, where they wowed the judges with their unusual ways of preparing their meals. One of the best moments in that show was when they were spotted toasting and posing for a picture mid-battle and it was assumed to be an early celebration. But as soon as the camera clicked, Cantu poured his cocktail into a food replicator as the stunned commentator mentioned that pouring liquid into your printer normally ruined it, but not in this case. The replicator then spewed out a cocktail-flavored picture which he later served to the judges who all too happily munched on them, declaring them tasty. And just in case you were wondering, they won that round against the resident Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto with 1 point for better taste – which means that their strange concoctions actually taste good despite undergoing such weird preparations.

But beyond that one TV appearance, Cantu and Roche work for Moto, one of the most elegant and possibly strangest restaurants in Chicago. Cantu owns the place while Roche is the pastry chef. A few dead giveaways that this place is not like your average restaurant: (1) the Class IV laser, normally used for surgery, on prominent display in the dining room as an important cooking tool, like burning a hole in a vanilla bean, whose fumes are used to enhance the flavor of a beef dish, (2) the huge tank of industrial-use liquid nitrogen in the backyard, used to freeze things that are normally hot and to mold foods into wholly unnatural shapes, and (3) aromatic utensils – forks and spoons with corkscrew handles that hold sprigs of thyme and rosemary.

The last one is only one of the many inventions of Cantu who has been described as an inventor who accidentally ended up as a chef. But who says you can’t merge both? This mad scientist-slash-chef hopes to license such patent-pending inventions as his “food replicator,” a tricked-out printer named in homage to Star Trek that creates “edible surfaces” such as paper flavored like cheesecake or a mojito; new utensils, which he hopes will change the way people eat; and his polymer cooking box, which allows food to continue cooking even after it is removed from a heat source. Homaro Cantu and Ben Roche

In Ben’s words: “[The show] follows myself, Homaro (executive chef of Moto) and everyone else at the restaurant as we address and explore many different “food calamities” occurring now and attempt to fix them using our creative ingenuity and strong will to promote positive change. Some have described us as the “Mythbusters” of food. For example, how do you get a bunch of 7-year-olds to eat their veggies?…turn them into “deep fried deer heads” or “dirty socks with rocks”. How do you build a better, more sustainable, more substantial burger? Remove the cow from the equation and make your burgers out of what the cow would normally eat. These are just a few examples of things you will see us doing on the show. The show is sort of like the restaurant, “play with your food, but play responsibly.”

So these boys use their toys not just for mere play but to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues from a completely unexpected place -the kitchen. And before you start thinking that this is a shot at the moon, consider that Cantu has actually been in the “help save the world” mode of thinking for several years now. His “edible surfaces” may offer the best opportunity for achieving his global ambitions. He believes that they could be used to feed people on long space missions, for military MREs, or even as a way to get long-lasting food to people in refugee camps. “My goal with this is to deliver food to the masses that are starving,” he says. “We give them something that’s healthy, that has an indefinite shelf life, and that is supercheap to produce. A guy like Paul Allen could take this thing and wipe out world hunger if he wanted to.”

Molecular gastronomy may just yet be the one that could save our future. But as the show’s tagline goes, “Why wait for the future when the future is now?”

Stay tuned to that future on Planet Green.

Save the Bees, Save the World

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Its not just about stinging.

It was late 2006 when beekeepers first reported losses of 30-90 percent of their hives. The honey, queens and immature bees were left, but the rest of the bees were mysteriously missing. Dead bodies littering their houses would have been a more welcome sight at this point, but they went all Amelia Earhart on us – gone without a trace. The strange phenomenon has since then been branded as “Colony Collapse Disorder” and scientists have been investigating for the root cause of the issue.

Three major possibilities have been advanced by USDA:

(1) Pesticides may be having unexpected negative effects on bees. But then again, is this really such a surprise?

(2) A new parasite or pathogen may be attacking honey bees. One possible candidate being looked at is a pathogenic gut microbe called Nosema. Viruses are also suspected. Late last year, Scientists also found a new clue – the bees’ ribosomes were breaking down, keeping them from making the proteins that they needed to deal with stress, pesticides, poor nutrition and disease.

(3) A perfect storm of existing stresses may have unexpectedly weakened colonies leading to collapse. Stress, in general, compromises the immune system of bees (and other social insects) and may disrupt their social system, making colonies more susceptible to disease.

Or it could be all of them. The poor tiny creatures can field off one or two things but maybe all of them at once can be a bit too much, don’t you think?

Now you may think that this shouldn’t be a major issue because you can deal without having honey on your pancakes if it came to that, but there are more to bees than just the honey in their hives. These bees we so take for granted are the ones who are in charge of pollinating about one-third of our agricultural crops worldwide, mostly fruit and seed crops.

The irony in this is that our demand for these foods endangers the wild bees that help make their production possible. Farmland expansion destroys wild bees’ nesting sites and also kills wildflowers that bees depend on when food crops aren’t in blossom. Through the years, studies have shown that the numbers of wild bees are dwindling and it would no longer be sufficient to meet the increasing demand for agricultural pollination, domesticated bees notwithstanding.

We have to stop the vicious cycle in its tracks by cultivating fewer of these food to protect the creatures that make them possible in the first place. We need to save the bees in order to save the food we love to eat. And we need to do it now.

Want to help? Check out The Great Sunflower Project.

Sushi Samba Takes Blue Fin Tuna Off Its Menu

We love when restaurants do the right thing. We just heard that Sushi Samba has voluntarily taken blue fin tuna off its menus.

Why are we so happy? Well, as huge sushi fans we do not want to see this fish become extinct.  Blue fin tuna is seriously over fished throughout the world and in danger of completely disappearing. A single blue fin fish can sell for up to $200,000.

We salute Sushi Samba for this great step specially after the U.N. rejected the export ban on this fish.

We also urge you to learn more about this species at the Blue Ocean Institute and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

Interview with Chef and Blogger Kiki Homer

Chef Kiki Homer in action.

Chef Kiki Homer in action.

Chef Christine (Kiki) Homer serves up her dishes at Mas(farmhouse stage) where the food is made in a modern French style.  Kiki honors classical technique and draws from regional American foods to create a simple, yet elegant new American cuisine. We spoke to her recently because we love her focus on healthy yet tasteful eating.

FriendsEAT: Kiki, can you give us a little background on your experience?

Kiki Homer: I graduated from both the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition but, before this,  I had a hectic career as a corporate attorney.  I’m also a busy mother. I founded Holistic Culinary Solutions to provide culinary coaching and menu and event planning services to both individuals and corporations.  I combine my passion for success and culturally-diverse food to create exceptional experiences.  I give people the tools they need to incorporate healthful cooking, eating and entertaining into even the busiest of lifestyles.

Since graduation, I have worked in the fields of culinary education and private catering.  I also work on a number of special events such as assisting Executive Chef Galen Zamarra of Mas at the James Beard House Dinner and at Taste of the Greenmarket, an annual fundraiser for the Council on the Environment of New York City. I have been a guest chef at The Natural Gourmet Institute of Food and Health’s Friday Night Dinner Program and am teaching public classes at venues such as Whole Foods.

FE: Did you grow up cooking?

KH: Yes.  I always enjoyed being in the kitchen.  My dad frequently cautioned that “we don’t have food or money to burn” although I don’t remember ever burning anything.  A few years after father passed away and my mom returned to school, I asked to cook weekday meals. I was 12.  I loved testing recipes.  I also began to test my intuition, recalling some of my mom’s techniques. I made everything from homemade manicotti to stir-fry.

One of my greatest memories was making lovely eclairs and cream puffs out of pate choux! My siblings loved the meals I made.

FE: Who was the biggest influence on your cooking?

KH: I would have to say my mother.  She was a good cook but more importantly she instilled in us the importance of sitting down everyday with your family for a meal. Also, holidays were elaborate events that seemed to take her days to prepare but she never complained. I suppose that’s why I enjoy the process of satiating others through food. My multi-cultural background (a European mother and West Indian father), extensive international travel and exposure to different cultures have also had a great influence.

Jesus’ Last Supper – Supersized

Last supper

Giving us a clue into what 15th Century people ate

It’s Lent, perfect time to talk about Jesus. While he was alive, he increased five loaves of bread and two fishes so that it fed more than five thousand men. More than two millennia later, It seems as though he is performing miracles beyond his grave, or should I say beyond his resurrection. The food in the Last Supper paintings, one of the most reproduced paintings depicting him, have also increased.

What Jesus Would Have Dined on in the 1300'sOops, did your eyes just increase in size as well? It’s actually no miracle but a case of art imitating life. Based on this rule, a pair of scholars, the Wansink brothers, decided to trace when the trend of increasing food portion sizes began by analyzing 52 of the best known depictions of the most commonly painted meal – Jesus Christ’s Last Supper. These paintings were coded into a CAD-CAM program that allowed the items to be scanned, rotated and calculated, regardless of their original orientation in the painting. The sizes of the loaves of bread, main dishes and plates were assessed based on the average size of the heads depicted in the paintings to account for the varying dimensions of the paintings. An index of 2.0 for the bread would indicate that the average width of the bread was twice the width of the average disciple’s head. To confirm that their findings were not biased, the calculation of relevant ratios of size was confirmed by two independent coders who did not know the purpose of the study.

11th Century FrescoThe main dishes depicted in the paintings contained included fish or eel (18%), lamb (14%) and pork (7%); the remaining paintings had no discernible main dish (46%). And the results? As expected, the size of food depicted in these paintings increased with time. From its depiction circa 1000 AD/CE to the present, the ratio of main course entree has generally increased by 69.2%while bread has increased by 23.1%. To accommodate the food, the plate size also increased by 65.6%. The complete results are published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Da Vinci’s painting doesn’t just provide a code about the Holy Grail, after all, but could also very well provide the first clue to how we got to our present state of supersized meals, as this study suggests.

How the Stock Market Affects Food Prices

Stock Market Game, Goodwill, 02/14/09

Stock Market: how we play it.

Recently, the world as we know it fell into chaos when companies folded, hundreds lost their jobs and most of the world was thrown into recession. These were all caused by a domino effect that started when stock prices plummeted. Most of us were in the dark as to how this happened. So maybe the first thing we should look at is what the stock market is and how it works, in layman’s terms.

Say you own a restaurant chain which has become quite profitable, and you want to make more of them, but you don’t have enough money to put them all up by yourself. You can have the option of going public or putting a stake in the ownership for sale to the public through stock shares. Now, the more favorable your company seems to be doing, the more people will want to own a part of it, the more capital you will have for investing in the business. This in turn will increase the price of your stocks, as demand raises a stock’s value.

One of the biggest selling stocks, however, is oil stock. When a large number of investors begin to invest in oil stock, this will cause the stock to be worth more and thus raise the price of the stock along with the price of gasoline. Once gasoline prices rise, everything else rises along with it, including food.

Some owners will want to hold on to their shares as long as they feel that the company is doing well (thus, reputation is very important), though others will want to sell their shares as soon as their value goes up and they feel they can get a profit from their initial investment. This is manageable so long as they don’t all suddenly sell all their shares, leaving you with no capital. This is actually what happened that set off the recession. When news broke about how certain companies weren’t as profitable as they made themselves out to be, their stockholders made a mad rush to sell out their stocks, draining the companies of capital so quickly that they had no time to recover and went bankrupt, leaving their employees out on the streets.

Though this of course was major bad news, the good side to it is that unemployment and stagnant wages are limiting consumers’ ability to spend, forcing companies to keep a lid on prices. According to Business Week, economists expect consumer prices ticked up 0.1 percent in February from the previous month. Gas prices dropped in February, likely canceling out an expected increase in food prices. Economists expect the weak recovery to keep inflation in check for the rest of the year. Factories are running well below normal levels of production and unemployment is at 9.7 percent. That spare capacity means companies can ramp up production without having to increase wages or other costs. Low inflation allows the Federal Reserve to keep its key short-term interest rate at its record-low level of near zero. The Fed said it would maintain that rate, which is intended to boost the economy, for “an extended period.” Most economists interpret that to mean at least six more months. Fed policymakers also said that “inflation is likely to be subdued for some time.”

And there you go, the silver lining in this huge thundercloud.

Women do Belong in the Kitchen: the Rise of Women Chefs

A modern kitchen.

Every woman's territory.

Traditionally, It has always been the role of the women to toil in the kitchen and provide sustenance for the family, so you’d think that professionally, this should be a role that we easily dominate. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Perhaps it’s not so much the role as the fact that women have always had a hard time competing in the work force because of their stereotypical role of staying at home while the men went out to earn the money.

The past decades have been marked by several notable changes in women’s labor force activities compared to men’s, however, including rising labor force participation, employment growth in higher-paying occupations, and earnings increases. In 1970, about 43 percent of women age 16 and older were in the labor force. By the late 1990s, the labor force participation rate of women had risen to 60 percent.

According to WACS (World Association of Chefs Societies), in the last 20 years, the number of women chefs has dramatically increased. In the US, we now have a woman Iron Chef, professional chefs who host their own TV shows and, overall, statistics say that 25 percent of food and beverage establishments are owned by women. It was also reported that the number of male and female students enrolled in culinary schools are equal.

The latest statistics of the Bureau of Labor puts women chefs and head cooks at 20.7 percent. Still a long way to go, but it’s an improvement. Here are some notable women chefs who have raised the bar for their kind in the cooking industry.

Julia ChildJulia Child.

The “French chef” best known for bringing French cuisine to America’s mainstream. She wrote or co-authored at least 15 cookbooks, including “The Way To Cook,” a 544-page book with more than 800 recipes and 600 color photographs, in 1989. She won the first Emmy awarded to a public television personality in 1966 and earned a Peabody Award “for distinguished achievement in television” in 1965. When she retired, she donated her kitchen, which her husband designed with high counters to accommodate her formidable height, and which served as the set for three of her television series, to the National Museum of American History, where it is now on display. She died of kidney failure in August 13, 2004. Her life was detailed in the 2009 movie Julie and Julia where she was portrayed by Meryl Streep, who got an Oscar nomination for the role.

Alice WatersAlice Waters.

She is the multi-awarded restaurant promoter and co-owner of Chez Panisse, the original “California Cuisine” restaurant in Berkeley, California, as well as the informal Café Fanny in West Berkeley. She advocates eating locally produced foods that are in season as she believes that the international shipment of mass-produced food is both harmful to the environment and produces an inferior product for the consumer. Among her awards – one of the ten best chefs of the world by Cuisine et Vins de France back in 1986 and the best chef of America by the James Beard Foundation (the food “Oscars”) in 1992.

Cat CoraCat Cora.

In 2005, she made television history on Food Network’s Iron Chef America as the first and only female Iron Chef, and in November 2006 Bon Appétit bestowed her with their Teacher of the Year Award, an award she calls, “the greatest recognition she could achieve as a chef.” That month, she was also honored with another great culinary distinction when she was named executive chef of the magazine.

Cristeta ComerfordCristeta Comerford.

She made history by being appointed as the first woman and first minority (she’s a Filipina) to serve as Executive chef of the most famous house in America – the White House. The First Lady Laura Bush did the honors in 2005 and in 2009, Mrs. Michelle Obama reappointed Comerford because of her passion and emphasis for healthy eating. Her many responsibilities include designing and executing menus for official dinners, social events, and family entertaining.

Lidia BastianichLidia Bastianich.

The queen of Italian-American cooking is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and one of the best-loved chefs on television. She is also a founder of the International Association of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, which helps women who want to enter the field. “Opportunity is very important to me,” she says. “The culinary industry has been very hard for women, especially financially.”

Rachael RayRachael Ray.

One of the most popular TV celebrity chefs today. She hosts the syndicated talk and lifestyle program Rachael Ray and three Food Network series, 30 Minute Meals, Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels and $40 a Day. She wrote cookbooks based on the 30 Minute Meals concept, and launched a magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, in 2006.  Her distinctions – two of her shows have won Daytime Emmy Awards, she was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2006 and she has repeatedly been featured on Forbes magazine for earning millions and being one of the most powerful celebrities in the world.

Food Co. wishes their salmonella tainted flavor enhancer would just “go away”

We don't need it here.

We don't need it here.

Basic Food Flavors, the company that knowingly permitted the salmonella tainted flavor enhancer (HVP) found in 159 recalled products (to date), has issued a comment denying responsibility.

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) is an MSG-like flavor enhancer that is mixed in with other spices, and added to thousands of processed foods, including chips, dip mixes, salad dressings, sauces, hotdogs, soups, frozen dinners, bouillons, gravy mixes, snacks, and ready-to-eat foods.

On March 4, 2010, Basic Food Flavors — who offers the food industry 120 varieties of hydrolyzed vegetable protein or HVP — announced a recall of its entire production of HVP in powder and paste form dating to September 17, 2009.

In a statement issued Wednesday to Food Navigator USA, Basic Food Flavors writes: “While it is unclear whether FDA is suggesting in the Form 483 that Basic Foods knowingly shipped adulterated product, the language used by the agency and reported by the press has created that implication. We, therefore, consider it important to clarify that Basic Foods has not knowingly shipped into commerce any product the Company believed had the potential to contain Salmonella.”

The FDA Overview of the Form 483 issued to Basic Food Flavors reads: “In addition to the firm’s own Salmonella findings, the inspectional observations in the 483 detail significant issues in Basic Food Flavors’ manufacturing facility. FDA inspectors found problems in the company’s manufacturing processes, including a lack of microbial- contamination control. The 483 also identified problems with the cleaning and sanitizing procedures of equipment and work areas where food meant for human consumption is processed, as well as plumbing and drainage issues.”

The FDA’s form 483 inspection report issued to Basic Food Flavors said: “After receiving the first private laboratory analytical results [dated January 21] indicating the presence of Salmonella in your facility, you continued to distribute HVP paste and powder products until 2/15/2010. Furthermore, from 1/21/2010 to 2/20/2010, you continued to manufacture HVP paste and powder products under the same processing conditions that did not minimize microbial contamination.”

Does the FDA language above sound to you like the FDA is unclear about whether Basic Food Flavors knowingly shipped adulterated product?

According to the North Las Vegas company, it first learned of the report filed because one of its customers turned them in to the FDA’s Reportable Food Registry on Feb. 5th. But managers at Basic Food Flavors learned on Jan. 21 that samples taken a week earlier tested positive for salmonella, yet they continued shipping their product to foodmakers. The company issued a recall on Feb. 26, one week before the FDA’s press conference on March 4.

Basic Food Flavors said that contrary to the FDA inspection report, they “implemented immediate corrective actions” to address the discovery of salmonella at the plant.

David Wood, the company’s sales and marketing manager, told Food Navigator-USA that he had hoped that not speaking with the press would help publicity of the recall to pass quickly. “Quite honestly, we didn’t bother answering the press because we just wanted it to go away,” he said. “…It’s working. It’s beginning to die down.”

Wood’s comment proves just how morally bankrupt some food manufactures are regarding the public’s collective health. Wood’s only concern is the public’s perception of his company despite millions of pounds of potentially contaminated HVP being recalled that was shipped in bulk to foodmakers over five months. And many of those companies have sold their products to others, making it impossible to trace the now endless distribution chain for salmonella originating coming from the Nevada company.

Officials claim the risk of salmonella contamination is low for processed foods because they’re cooked; but the risk is much higher for uncooked foods like chips and dips.

Thus far, no illnesses have been reported associated with this case, but we’ll never know. HVP is virtually impossible to trace since a food manufacturer might buy HVP from many different suppliers, and store it all together without establishing a trace-back system to a particular source or batch. And unless HVP is part of a flavor mix, HVP may not be listed as an ingredient on a food package.

And since salmonella contamination has become so widespread in the food industry, recent reports of salmonella contamination will just be another in a litany of reports of food recalls from scores of other food manufacturers.

Top 20 Outrageous Foods

Who says bugs can't be eaten?For those living in poor regions or less developed countries, food choices may be influenced more by economics than taste preference. Additionally, some culinary preferences are based on peculiar cultural beliefs related to superior health and sexual prowess.

Whatever the reason, bizarre foods and bizarre food eating has been popularized by Andrew Zimmern’s documentary-styled travel and cuisine program called Bizarre Foods. Zimmern features cuisine from around the world perceived by American viewers as gross and bizarre.

Here is our list of the top 20 grossest foods. The first two listed are just plain high-tech culinary insanity:

20. Tuna Mayonnaise DoritosTuna Mayonnaise Doritos, chocolate-covered Cheetos

Japan’s idea of taste novelty — corn chips with an odd blend of mayo and fish. Some say the chip odor is so offensive, they can’t eat them. So if you are bored of your old regular nacho cheese Doritos, this may be just for you.

19. Chocolate and Strawberry covered Cheetos

Cheetos dipped in chocolate or strawberry frosting. Another favorite in Japan.

Just the thought is nauseating; sickening.  Fake cheddar cheese covered in chocolate? Even worse, covered in strawberry flavors? I have no idea who would eat this and I do not care to find out.

Cow Brains18. Cow Brains

Beef brains or calf brains are used in the cuisines of France, Italy, El Salvador, Columbia, Mexico, Pakistan, Portugal, and the United States. Cow brains are usually flavored with sauces or baked somewhat like a quiche. We’ve heard they are delicious.

chocolate-covered crickets17. Chocolate Covered Crickets

Considered an exotic snack, crickets are oven roasted, covered with chocolate and then individually wrapped. Turns out crickets are low in calories and have tons of protein and iron. Ants and meal worms are also available although I’m not too sure about their nutritional content. Entomophagy is just not for me.

Pig Intestines16. Pig Intestines

The viscera intestines of a pig are most commonly referred to chitterlings in the U.S. Chitterlings are also popular in most parts of Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America, where dishes such as Mondongo are prepared.