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Thread: Big 'fresh food' con ?

  1. #1
    ~ The Great Cambinho ~ CambCelt's Avatar
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    Default Big 'fresh food' con ?

    Not just muffins or other cakes; meat, pasta ...

    By Joanna Blythman:

    More than a month ago, I bought a chocolate chip muffin from one of those would-be Italian chain coffee bars. In its homespun-looking paper wrapper, the muffin looked as though it had just come from the baker's oven. It bore no ingredients list that's perfectly legal for food sold loose but having a shrewd idea from my investigations into the processed food industry of the likely ingredients, I didn't eat it.

    Instead, this muffin has become an illuminating experiment. It's still sitting on my desk, looking exactly as it did at the end of January: no mould, no dryness, no obvious signs of age.

    Now that's odd. I have on occasion baked chocolate chip muffins at home. Addictive when warm, even the next day they aren't quite as good, and thereafter they become progressively more solid, stale and unrewarding to eat. So just yesterday, I was intrigued to sample a little piece of my experimental muffin. It seemed preternaturally fresh, if by that you mean still moist. Had I tasted it blind, I'm not convinced that I would have realised that it was meant to be a chocolate anything sugar, with some residual bitterness, was the dominant taste but I certainly wouldn't have known that my muffin was weeks old.

    This doesn't surprise me. In 1987, a food scientist, Dr Robert L Shewfelt, coined the term "fresh-like" to describe that booming category of products that seem fresh, but aren't, and this hyphenated adjective has since slipped seamlessly into the lexicon of modern food processing. Of course, the adjective "fresh" ought to be time-sensitive. True freshness is a fleeting state, a concept located at the top end of a timescale that inevitably leads downwards to decay. But for food manufacturers and retailers, the word has become inextricably linked with other industry catchphrases: "shelf-life extension" and "perceived freshness". The result? Most of us are regularly and unwittingly eating food that's a lot older than it seems.
    meat rexfeatures - Big 'fresh food' con ?
    MAP packaging keeps meat looking ruby-red, as if it were newly cut

    Now, if you are the sort of person who reads ingredients labels and avoids the most blatantly over-processed products (ready meals, chicken nuggets, pot noodles, tinned soup, cheese "strings", and more of that ilk), you may find this surprising. But even the most food-aware among us most likely eat food that has been processed, using a number of invisible technologies, to make it seem fresher and newer than it really is.

    Do you, for instance, buy from supermarkets red meat that's packaged inside a rigid plastic container under a strong film lid? This is a type of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). By altering the composition of air to remove all or most of the oxygen, this technological fix keeps your meat looking ruby-red, as if it were newly cut. It also stops your "fresh" pasta from curling up at the edges.
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay - Features - Food and Drink - The Independent

    Doesn't really matter much to me though, if it tastes nice & doesn't cost too much..

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    Default Re: Big 'fresh food' con ?

    It stands to reason that most of the food we buy will have been processed in some way because we are all much further away from the source of the food than we used to be. There's not much stuff that we can really buy that is actually fresh. It's one reason I love places like the But 'n Ben restaurant near Arbroath, because it does get very fresh ingredients, mainly fish that has been caught earlier in the day, that taste amazing because of it, but these places are few and far between. most of our food has to be shipped from a supplier, packed, shipped to a supermarket or shop and then be prepared to sit on a shelf for at least a few days, then sit in your kitchen somewhere for another few days before it is eaten. Un-processed food has very little chance of being edible after that length of time, so they have to be altered somehow to allow them to do it. It's the price we pay for the convenience of being able to buy pretty much whatever we want.

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    الحمد لله‎ Ben's Avatar
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    Default Re: Big 'fresh food' con ?

    I love how we've got to the point where people are actually complaining about food not rotting. Just think about it for a second... since the beginning of humanity we've been trying to find ways to preserve food because it's valuable. Millions (probably billlions) of human beings have died of hunger or due to poisoning from badly preserved food. We've now got to the stage where we're absolutely brilliant at it, yes there's still hunger but it's nothing like it used to be even 200 years ago, people are eating and being fed much better than ever.

    Yet somehow someone thinks that a muffin that doesn't rot is a bad thing... it's crazy.

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    Default Re: Big 'fresh food' con ?

    When I moved to France I was shocked at the shelf life of some stuff. Fresh milk there has a shelf life of about four weeks and sliced bread can have a shelf life of about three months. When I left England you were lucky to have bread that lasted until the end of the week, so I never trusted the bread in France for a long time.

    Fresh bread doesn't last the day there, but I'd still prefer to eat fresh if possible.

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    ~ The Great Cambinho ~ CambCelt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Big 'fresh food' con ?

    My local Budgens bought a load of mangoes (one of which Mrs Camb and I had in a smoothie - very nice!) that have now gone off, by the look of it. There will probably be loads wasted as they didn't reduce the price before they all went squizhy and/or got black spots on! Silly really. They could have shifted them in no time at 2 for a quid.

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    Last edited by CambCelt; 12-03-2015 at 22:12.
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