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Food Rant

Make Mine Well Done

Next time you chow down on that juicy burger grilled on your trusty barby or when ordering your fave from a local drive-thru, better make sure that burger is well-done -- really well done.

For decades, Health Canada advised consumers to cook ground beef to 71 °C (159.8 °F). That was suppose to be the tipping point for harmful bacteria, like E coli, to be thermally destroyed making the ground beef safe to eat. But food scientists at the University of Alberta recently discovered the recommended temperature may not be high enough.

Food Borne Illness

Food Safety Magazine recently published an interesting study on food recalls. The publication tallied recalls from 2015 data from three different agencies—the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The results produced some interesting and disturbing insights.

According to the report, the good citizens of Canada and the US experienced 629 food recalls in 2015. One third of the total recalls was due to common, repeat allergens - wheat, eggs, peanuts and dairy. Other allergens included soy, sulfites and various types of tree nuts—almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews and pistachios. Milk was one of the most undeclared food allergens.

Say NO to GMO Salmon

The line between genetically engineered fodder and natural food is once again being blurred thanks to the Canadian government. Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency rammed through approval of genetically modified salmon without public consultation or assessment of the potential effects of GM fish escaping into the wild. And, once the transgenic fish are in our grocery stores, no labelling will be required. Why? Advocates of GMO fodder know consumers won’t buy it.

The Dirtiest Fruit in Your Supermarket

After five years of topping the list, apples have officially been dethroned as the most pesticide-loaded produce. The new fruit that tops the Environmental Working Group's list of the "Dirty Dozen" -- strawberries. One of Nature's most potent packages of health-defending antioxidants, this sad news is not only maddening, it demonstrates, once again, the danger posed to the public's health when food becomes a commodity.

Weedkiller Found in Frito's Sunchips

Here's an ingredient you won't find on the food label. GMO Free USA, recently announced that Frito Lay's SunChips tested positive for glyphosate, a popular weed-killing chemical and the active ingredient in Roundup. Testing also revealed the chips contained genetically engineered or transgenic ingredients.

The public advocacy group found that a quantitative test verified by DNA analysis discovered that 100 percent of the corn in the SunChips came from GMO sources, containing DNA sequences known to be present in insecticide-producing Bt and Roundup Ready corn.

US Senate Rips Into Dr Oz

Undoubtedly, there is enough confusion about what to eat and what supplements we should or not be taking to counter some of our ills without a voice of authority mudding up the waters. Oprah's favorite MD, Dr. Mehmet Oz of The Dr. Oz Show was hauled in front of a Senate panel last week and grilled about his endorsements of the dietary supplements that he features on his show. Of particular interest was Oz's endorsement of coffee beans that claimed incredible weight loss powers.

Risky Meat


Spoiler alert -- this isn't going to be appetizing. Consumer Reports just released a study testing 257 samples of ground turkey from supermarkets and found that virtually every one was contaminated with either – get ready for it --- fecal bacteria, staph or salmonella. What’s worse the fecal bacteria were resistant to one or more antibiotics important to human medicine. This just after the US government admitted a significant majority of supermarket meat is contaminated with antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Chemical Cuisine

In North America, we spend almost 90 percent of our food budget on processed food which contains a staggering number of artificial food additives, preservatives, colours and flavour enhancers. The Centre for Science in the Public Interest compiled a list of common food additives. There is a short description for each additive and a safety rating for each.

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