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Archive for the ‘food safety’ Category

<div xmlns:cc="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" about="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamsjoys/71498012/"><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href=Have you ever seen an  expensive bottle of the herb-infused olive oil in a cooking store with an exorbitant price tag stuck to the lid? I have, and always felt such creations were too rich for my blood.

At the same time, I once tasted a bit of the divine substance at a restaurant in Boulder (basil-infused olive oil + fresh crusty bread = heaven), but still I assumed that, if purchasing them was right out, creating one of these concoctions from scratch involved a 15-step three week process necessitating USDA-canning-grade instructions. Turns out it’s not so.

In an article in this week’s New York Times, Mark Bittman reveals it’s easy as . . . well . . . pie.

FLAVORED oils are invaluable summer ingredients, at home over salads, grilled vegetables, meat, fish or almost anything else for that matter. They’re also among the simplest exotic kitchen creations imaginable.

You can pay $15 or even $30 for a half-liter bottle of flavored oil, or you can pay for oil plus herbs plus bottle, more likely to be around $10 a liter, and wind up with something considerably better.

If you jump to the article you’ll find a recipe for the stuff, although I must note that if you look at the correction, it appears even the mighty Mark Bittman got in trouble with the food safety police. Ahh, well. Better safe than hospitalized for hemolytic uremic syndrome, I always say.

Photo: Lavender-infused olive oil in an artist-approved but definitely not USDA-approved pose. Credit:jamsjoys/Creative Commons No Derivative Works Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Click image for link.

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In the New York Times this week was some sobering news about the safety of proccessed foods. The frozen-pot-pied-induced sickening of 15,000 people shows it’s not just undercooked hamburgers and poultry-juice contaminated cutting boards that are sickening people anymore.

[T]he supply chain for ingredients in processed foods — from flavorings to flour to fruits and vegetables — is becoming more complex and global as the drive to keep food costs down intensifies. As a result, almost every element, not just red meat and poultry, is now a potential carrier of pathogens, government and industry officials concede.

… The problem is particularly acute with frozen foods, in which unwitting consumers who buy these products for their convenience mistakenly think that their cooking is a matter of taste and not safety.

Because food processors can no longer guarantee the safety of their ingredients, they’re putting the burden on consumers to ensure the safety of their products by asking you (in confusing language) to use a kitchen thermometer — and object which even I do not own (but wish to purchase, and which one commentator noted may not even give accurate readings unless it is digital). But doesn’t that defeat the whole point of “convenience” foods?

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