Sunday, August 9, 2009

An educated foodie's plea to a naive world.

It's been a while since I last blogged on here, so I figure it's time to do something. Assoon as I get a hold of a copy, I will be watching Food Inc. and fact checking the whole movie. I've seen parts of the movie through clips and I've also watched/heard several Michael Pollan and Robert Kenner interviews about the movie. From what I gather, I might need to break the fact checking into several parts as it will most likely take a while to go through everything.

I think I might do a hodgepodge of various food musings for this post...

Pepsico is trying to buy out some of it's larger independent bottlers, a move that will save Pepsico around $300 million by 2012 through supply chain integration. This is sort of vertical integration, except that these entities were alread a part of Pepsi a decade ago. It would be like Pillsbury buying it's flour supplier if that supplier only supplied flour to Pillsbury in the first place.

Has anyone gotten to know a food scientist lately? Many of you probably live near a place that manufactures food products, so you have access. Some of you reading this either go to school or live near one and many of those colleges have a food science program. I ask because regardless of whether they are a liberal or conservative, their knowledge of food is the same. Science is apolitical. Facts are facts. If you are curious about how many eggs have salmonella on them or whether or not the pesticide residues on an apple will harm you, they can help. Just for the record, the answers are: 1 in 20,000 and not if the residues are under the gov established limits.

"Fortifying processed foods with missing nutrients is surely better than leaving them out, but food science can add back only the small handful of nutrients that food science recognizes as important today" - 'In Defense of Food', Michael Pollan.

Just a quick example of a fortified food... Enriched flour. The process of making the flour destroys some of four nutrients, so to make up for it, we add ten. So. we lose parts of four, but we add ten. I'll give another example... Pasteurized and homogenized milk. The pasteurization process sees the milk heated to 161 degrees F for about 16 seconds. In that time, a statistically insignificant amount of some enzymes and vitamins can be destroyed. To make up for it, we tend to add vitamins A and D. Mr. Pollan did not take a course in Dairy Processing and get an A. Oddly enough, Mr. Pollan is granted credibility for writing about food in a sort of New York Post page 6 he said-she said manner.

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