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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Please watch this area for important information like updates, food recalls, polls, contests, coupons, and freebies.
  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
  • [February 1, 2016] - An interesting report on why you should always choose organic tea verses non-organic: Toxic Tea (pdf format)
  • Sticky Post - Warning: 4ever Recap reusable canning lids. The reports are growing daily of these lids losing their seal during storage. Some have lost their entire season's worth of canning to these seal failures!

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Be An Informed Consumer

Frugal Kitchens 101

It boggles my mind how much blind faith the general public puts on the food industry!  The food industry would have you believe that they are protecting your best interests when if fact that is the furthest from the truth.  In reality the food industry is a group of businesses which means economics 101 comes into play which really means the food industry is interested in turning a profit regardless of how they do it and that includes cutting down the quality of the foods put out.  Take for example the case of high fructose corn syrup.  Despite the fact there is good evidence that high fructose corn syrup is responsible for increased autism, ADHD and ADD the food industry continues to use high fructose corn syrup because it is cheaper.  That is how much the food industry actually cares about our kids!  If we don't say enough is enough the food industry is going to continue on their quest for profits while hindering us and future generations.  This week's Frugal Kitchens 101 is all about being an informed consumer.

To be an informed consumer you need to know:

  • the current issues - My gosh!  Never have we lived in a time where food contamination has been such an issue.  There are foodborne poisonings that are causing serious illnes that has resulted in deaths.  The food industry in some respects sees this as collateratal damage.  With any luch they won't be sued but even if they are these companies are protected to the point even if they file bankruptcy the worst that is lost is the company and any assets that likely have been protected from loss anyway.  On a global scale it is becoming increasingly important to deal with sustainable and organic growers, those grower who treat their farm larbour in an ethical and fair manner and companies who pay a fair price to the farmers growing the foods for them.  
  • food recalls and contaminations notices - One alarming trend is increasing foodborne illnesses due to food contamination.  In Canada the Canadian Food Ispection Agency (CFIA) issues food recall and health allert notices.  Most people check their email daily so it is a good idea to sign up for their email notification system.
  • current terminology and what to look for - The food industry is great at signage because that gets the public to buy the food.  Organic, genetically modified (GM), trans-fats, sodium, cholesterol, irradiated, local, grown locally and low fat are all food industry buzz words.  Of these GM is used the least at the moment because it is not widely accepted by the general public but just give it time.  Health Canada releases the current information on GM foods in Canada so this is one site you should be keeping an eye on.  You really need to know what each of these terms mean with respect to the food you buy.  If I buy vegetables from a local organic farm I know it is both local and organic but if I buy aat the grocery store, well I'm trusting that's what I'm buying but chances are that isn't what I'm buying.  I prefer to take my chances going directly to the source.
  • labelling - The food industry has been very good at using buzz words on labelling because those words help sell their food.  In Canada we now have nutritional labelling and ingredients must be disclosed.  Nutrional labelling is a whole issue that really needs to be readdressed.  Some of the nutritional labelling is misleading at best.  When it comes to the ingredient list certain ingredients do not need to be disclosed.  So the term spice or artifical flavour can be used without disclosing exactly what it is.  
  • price tagging - All produce seems to have those horrible little stickers on them now.  If the code starts with 9 it is organic but if it starts with 4 it is not organic.  Knowing this you can choose organic produce in the grocery store even if it is not labeled as such.
  • dyes - Two food dyes have been indicated in food allergies.  They are yellow dye # 5 (tartrazine) and red dye # 2 (carmine and cochineal extracts) but there are likely others.  Some of these can cause severe asthmatic reactions.
  • sodium - If an product ingredient has the word sodium in it, it means extra salt.  It is called hidden salt and the food industry is very good at hiding salt in our food.
  • sugars - Surcrose (common table sugar), matose, fructose, lactose, and maltose are all sugars.  If you see an ingredient in a product ending in ose that means sugar.
  • organic - This term simply means the produce was grown without the use of synthetic pesticides.  In this case it really does pay to know the grower but if you buy in a grocery store certified organic means the produce and growing conditions have to meet specific regulatory standards.  A farm cannot be certified organic unless it has been free of pesticides and synthetic chemicals for a certain number of years and many organic growers reduce the chances of possible contamination by not using motor driven vehicles on their property.  This is one reason why organic produce is more expensive.  It is more expensive to produce.


1 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

It's scary and sad what the food industry can get away with. :/