Friday, May 21, 2010


A while back, someone suggested that I check out a film called "Ingreedients". I was immediately attracted by the name- for obvious reasons- and decided to check it out. I sent the creator an email letting him know that I appreciated his efforts as obviously our goals are very similar. And then he sent me some copies of the film... what a nice guy!

So, I watched it and was totally blown away. I thought I understood the ups and downs of trans fats. But as it turns out- I didn't. In the film they even have some foods analyzed for trans fats content. Did anyone else realize that Smart Balance contains trans fat? What a bummer! Partially-hydrogenated oils definitely aren't the only thing to be looking out for when screening your groceries.

With that said, I definitely recommend that anyone who is interested in protecting themself and others from cracks in FDA and USDA regulations order a copy of the film from the Ingreedients website.

Students- get this into your classroom! Food Inc. is another beautifully informative piece of work as well. After my teacher showed Ingreedients in our American cultural studies class, I had people begging to borrow my copy to bring home to show their family.

And for those who are interested- I will post an update on my Aramark situation very soon.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Elfraydoh sauze

What are the rules in regards to naming foods? I mean, who is to say what "counts" as a potato chip? Does the packaging information just not have to be too misleading for the customer? And if that is the case, who regulates that?

As I was walking through the grocery store yesterday, I glanced at a product labeled "Cheezy Puffs". I thought to myself, "Wow, these people aren't trying to mislead anyone." They were obviously targeting a consumer base that didn't care whether or not what they were eating was real food. It's a "puff", and it tastes... well.... "cheezy".

With that in mind, I am posting ingredients for a cafeteria food item today that I would like to name "Elfraydoh Sauze". I thought it would be convenient because upon labeling, nobody would be mislead. Actually, they may even be intrigued enough to read the ingredients to attempt to decipher exactly what Elfraydoh Sauze is (if the ingredients are made available, of course).

Alfredo Sauce
Alfredo Sauce Ingredients: modified food starch, maltodextrin, cream replacer, whey, palm oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, parmesan and cheddar and romano cheese, cheese blend, nonfat milk, yeast extract, salt, sodium caseinate, less than 2% of cellulose gel, corn syrup solids, dehydrated butter, natural flavors, soybean oil, sunflower oil, annato, turmeric, black pepper, xanthan gum, sodium citrate, disodium phosphate, lactic acid, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, spice

 The first two ingredients are the same as the gravy, only switched. This actually makes me think that this particular paste is probably the base for all of their sauzes. Then we come to..... wait- cream replacer? Can someone help me out with that one? Has anyone ever seen that appear on a normal label? Well... hmm. At least we know what whey is. Palm oil is easily identifiable. Trans fats were only to be expected. A cheese blend followed by a... cheese blend. Yeast, salt, probable MSG in disguise.

Oh, and for anyone looking out for MSG (it wears a variety of costumes), this website has a nice list.

Now, back to the ingredients. Cellulose gel. I really like this explanation of cellulose gel for two reasons:
1. It was the first credible looking site I saw when I googled cellulose gel.
2. Nowhere in the product explanation is food even mentioned. This is an easily sited red flag when identifying products to avoid. If you don't know what it is, don't eat it.

Corn syrup solids is often compared to high-fructose corn syrup. It just sounds gross to me. Then we've got some butter and spices and things (natural flavors could also be MSG). Then we have two different oils next to each other, which makes me think they chose to do that in order to make the product appear to contain less oil.

Overall, Elfraydoh Sauze gets a thumbs down from me. If they hadn't gotten me with the first two ingredients, it would have been the cream replacer.

Oh, and if anyone is interested in making some real Alfredo sauce, this recipe only contains six ingredients and looks delicious!