Archive for May 14th, 2009


Sandi Toksvig on being kissed by Kermit the Frog: “Well, it’s really a man, with a puppet on his head –”

“So where did he really kiss you?” – Sue Perkins

The News Quiz, Series 68, Episode 3

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or, “This is why everyone needs to know how to make their own meals, damnit!”

It bugs the hell out of me that the people who are least likely to be able to afford the time to shop for ingredients are the ones most likely to be caught out by this scary news about ConAgra [they make a lot of pre-packaged foods, frozen meals, etc. in the United States]:

ConAgra’s pot pie outbreak began on Feb. 20, 2007, and by the time it trailed off nine months later 401 cases of salmonella infection had been identified in 41 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimates that for every reported case, an additional 38 are not detected or reported…..ConAgra had not been requiring its suppliers to test the vegetables for pathogens, even though some were being shipped from Latin America. Nor was ConAgra conducting its own pathogen tests. [Source: New York Times, May 14, 2009]

So ConAgra is just interested in how cheaply they can manufacture “food products” and then adjust their labels to tell consumers what temperature the food should be before it’s “safe” to eat.  They’re not going to take any responsibility for the quality of the product, just that you’re getting a product, and good luck with reaching the necessary temperatures for the necessary amount of time needed to kill the salmonella, E. coli, etc.

As this article points out, how many of us use food thermometers on a regular basis?  How many homes use microwaves, and cook things expecting that, if the food is steaming, it’s thawed out and “done”?

I think that people go to a grocery store and assume that if the prepared products there weren’t “safe”, or weren’t meant to be eaten, the store wouldn’t be allowed to sell the stuff as “food”.  So shoppers don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how long a prepared food item will need to be cooked, or whether the directions [and the assumptions behind them] are all that important. Is the food hot?  Great; it’s “done”, and y’all can start eating now.


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