Edible Examiner XLI

AB_edible examiner_V4 

Fruit Recalled Nationwide For Possible Listeria Contamination – Sara Gates

Fruit Recall Hits Trader Joe’s, Costco, Wal-Mart Stores – Bill Chappell

Fears of possible listeria contamination have led to a national recall of whole peaches, nectarines, plums and other fruits packed by California-based Wawona Packing Co. Wawona decided to issue the voluntary recall following internal testing at one of the company’s packing facilities in central California, the Associated Press reports. At the time, production was halted and the facility was sanitized. Subsequent tests turned up negative for the bacterium that causes the food-borne illness. Though Wawona does not have a list of specific stores where the potentially contaminated fruits may have been sold, major chains such as BJs, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart and Whole Foods have been contacted. To date, no illnesses have been reported.


Meat Scandal in China Escalates: Officials Detain Five – Khushbu Shah

Yum cuts ties to owner of China meat plant after scandal – Brenda Goh and Paul Carsten

Yum Brands Inc. severed ties with OSI Group after Shanghai police detained five people from the supplier’s China meat-processing factory at the center of a food safety scare that has ensnared several major Western brands. On Sunday, July 20, Shanghai-based news channel Dragon TV aired an investigative report about Shanghai Husi Food Co., LTD, a supplier that “repacked old beef and chicken and put new expiration dates on them,” as well as packing meat which had been lying on the floor. A night cleaner reported to Reuters that he had seen workers pick up raw meat from the floor and put it back into processing containers. He also said that he had seen some workers handling raw meat without wearing gloves. Another Husi worker reported that there was an attitude of “it doesn’t really matter” if raw meat, which fell on the floor, was returned to the process. The TV documentary also reported that according to staff at the Shanghai Husi facility said they kept two record books on food products, one of which was doctored to be shown to anyone who came to audit the facility. A quality control manager told investigators that management, “had approved adding expired meat into the production of chicken nuggets, beef patties, and other frozen fast food products” and that the “policy had been in place for years.” Since the news broke, many chains have quickly pulled all possible expired products from their kitchens and storage facilities. McDonald’s sealed 4,500 cases of Husi products for investigation. KFC and Pizza Hut note that they are conducting their own investigation into the situation and Burger King and Starbucks have stopped serving products from Husi. The investigation is ongoing.


Fear Of ‘Chlorine Chicken’ Complicates Trade Talks Between U.S. And Germany – Robin Emmott and Tom Körkemeier

German Chancellor Angela Merkel once said she wished “for nothing more than a free-trade agreement between the USA and the EU”. To the dismay of many in Brussels and Washington, Germans are now taking a very different view. That is putting Europe’s biggest exporter in the unusual situation of becoming one of the most vocal opponents of the world’s biggest trade deal. A transatlantic pact would create a market of 800 million people and allow Germany to sell more of its luxury cars, trains and chemicals in the US, an attractive proposition for an economy that has faltered in recent months. But in a twist that few officials expected, European concerns about the threat to food and the environment have found their strongest voice in Germany, amplified by the country’s influential Green party and anger at reports of US spying. The phrase “Chlorhuehnchen”, or chlorine chicken, has entered the parlance of everyone from taxi drivers to housewives since trade negotiations began a year ago. A majority of Germans believe chlorine-washed chicken is a danger to human health despite its successful use in the US to kill bacteria, according to survey by pollster Forsa. In the EU, antibiotics are used. Brussels says there will be no change in policy even with a US deal. Meeting in Brussels for a sixth round of talks hope is to reach an agreement sometime net year. But they are struggling to raise awareness beyond vocal labor and consumer groups who largely oppose an accord.


13 Crunchy, Creamy Facts That Justify Your Love Affair With Peanut Butter – Renee Jacques

Because peanut butter goes so well with so many foods, you can eat it for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. And when snack time rolls around, you can bet your Skippy that you’re eating it straight out of the jar. Here are 13 ways peanut butter can help you body and soul:

  1. Yes, peanut butter has fat. But it’s good fat. Contrary to popular belief, consuming moderate amounts of saturated fat is not problematic.
  2. It’s usually vegan and gluten-free, so almost everyone can eat it. Unless you are allergic to peanuts, it doesn’t matter what kind of diet you’re on, you can eat peanut butter.
  3. Peanut butter is good for your dog. Peanut butter provides great vitamins and nutrients, like Vitamin E and protein, to your dog.
  4. It provides some essential vitamins to humans too. Peanuts are one of the best sources of magnesium. Two tablespoons of smooth peanut butter provides 12 percent of your recommended daily magnesium. Magnesium helps carry calcium and potassium across cell membranes in your body.
  5. Peanut butter and bacon are a match made in heaven. In 1983 the Evening Independent decided to introduce their readers to something called the “Peanut Butter Banana Club”. A lot of people seemed to enjoy this version of the club sandwich. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg once said that his choice for a last meal on earth would have to be a version of the peanut butter-banana-bacon sandwich.
  6. On the topic of salty bacon, peanut butter can help counteract too much sodium in a diet. If you have found yourself eating too much salty food, peanut butter can come to your rescue. It’s chock full of potassium, a mineral that, according to the American Heart Association, relaxes blood vessels, which helps lower blood pressure. They also state that eating more potassium allows for more sodium to be released through one’s urine.
  7. Peanut butter could really help you stay on that diet. Peanut butter is a very filling food. Therefore, it keeps dieters fuller for longer, helping them resist the urge to mindlessly snack.
  8. The more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you eat, the more you could be helping the earth. The PB&J campaign urges people to eat plant-based sandwiches (specifically PB&Js) instead of meat-based sandwiches for lunch every day. The campaign’s website states that each time you eat a PB&J instead of red meat for lunch, you’re shrinking your carbon footprint by almost 3.5 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.
  9. It can help you get the gum out of kid’s hair. All you have to do is rub some peanut butter on the gum-affected area and the natural peanut oils will loosen the stiff gum, allowing for easy removal. Just make sure it’s the creamy kind.
  10. Girls who eat peanut butter could lower their risk of developing breast cancer. In a study by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard Medical School, it was discovered that girls between the age of 9 and 15 who regularly ate peanut butter were 39 percent less likely to develop benign breast disease by age 30.
  11. Peanut butter has literally saved thousands of children from starvation. In 1996, a French scientist made a peanut butter paste filled with nutrients and vitamins to help malnourished babies in underdeveloped countries to get the healthy nutrients they need.
  12. Peanut butter probably has as many antioxidants as your healthy juice. After testing a dozen different peanut varieties for their antioxidant count, Steve Talcott, an assistant professor food science and human nutrition at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, concluded, “When it comes to antioxidant content, peanuts are right up there with strawberries.”
  13. Last, but definitely not least, you have the potential to eat peanut butter for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Peanut butter is versatile. You have the option of spreading peanut butter on something, mixing it with noodles, coating meat with it or turning it into a delicious sauce, just to name a few.


8 Things You Didn’t Know About Nut Butters – Linnea Covington

While the plastic jar of Peter Pan is hardly going out of style, some consumers have left the ubiquitous jars of industrial peanut butter sitting on the shelf in favor of a new regime of gourmet brands and exotic sounding nut betters like hazelnut, almond and cashew.  Here are a few fun facts about nut butters you might not know:

  1. Most Nut Butters Aren’t Actually Made From Nuts. The only true nut you will find commonly made into nut butter is the hazelnut. Despite popular opinion, almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamias aren’t actual nuts; they are fruits and seeds. The ubiquitous peanut is a legume. Though for culinary purposes, all these products are considered nuts, hence the term “nut butter”, that, by the way, doesn’t have butter in it either.
  2. Not Just For Spreading. Nut butters are great for adding an unctuous quality to a dish instead of using animal fat or cheese. Nut butters give dishes a protein punch and add a deeper flavor.
  3. Even Big Brands Have Looked Beyond the Peanut. You don’t have to go gourmet to get a nut butter that isn’t peanut-based. Jif now does smooth and creamy version of almond and cashew butters.
  4. Nut Butter Is Easy to Make. On a small scale, making nut butter is a simple, two-step process: put the nuts in a food processor and turn it on.
  5. It Takes Approximately 372 Nuts to Fill a 16-Ounce Jar of Pure Nut Butter. That is, depending on the nut and who makes it. Some nut butters like Skippy or Nutella have a lot of fillers like sugar and milk that take away from the nut ratio.
  6. Weather Affects Nut Butter. Since most nut butters are made with very few ingredients; droughts, floods and consumption spikes, which affect supply can have an alarming impact on availability, price and quality.
  7. Every Nut Has Its Nuances. Nutritionally speaking, almond, peanut and hazelnut butters are pretty comparable, and the biggest difference you find is in the taste. Cashews are the creamiest, but the macadamia is highest in calories, as almost 75 percent of this seed is fat.
  8. Honey or Chocolate-Infused Nut Butter Is Totally A Thing. You no longer have to choose from just crunchy or smooth—right now it appears everyone is making their own version of honey-tinged or chocolate-fused nut butter.


11 Things You Never Knew About Tomatoes – Alison Spiegel

Most people probably know that tomatoes are actually a fruit, but that’s just the beginning of a long list of interesting facts:

  1. People used to believe tomatoes were poisonous. According to the FDA, highly acidic foods may leach when touching certain metals, like pewter. Thus tomatoes served on pewter plates in the 1700s occasionally caused people to fall ill or die from lead poisoning, and people falsely attributed this to tomatoes.
  2. China is the world’s largest producer of tomatoes. The U.S. is second. China exports most of its crop, given that tomatoes do not factor heavily in Chinese cuisine.
  3. In the U.S., California grows the most tomatoes. California is responsible for 96 percent of the processing tomato output and one-third of the fresh crop. Florida is next.
  4. Americans eat about 23 pounds of tomatoes each year. About half of that consumption comes in the form of tomato sauce and ketchup.
  5. You can call it “wolf peach.” The scientific name for tomatoes is Lycopersicon lycopersicum, which means wolf peach.
  6. Tomatoes do not belong in the refrigerator. The cold air in the fridge stops the tomato from ripening and ripening is what gives tomatoes more flavor.
  7. You can use tomatoes for skin care. Thanks to the acid in tomatoes, you can use tomato pulp to clear up blemishes.
  8. Tomatoes originated in the Andes. Tomatoes were first cultivated by the Aztecs and Incas, dating back as early as 700 AD.
  9. And the first variety wasn’t red. The first tomatoes were small and yellow.
  10. There are about 10,000 varieties of tomatoes across the globe. Some of the more fun names include Baby Cakes, Banana Legs, Cream Sausage, Gremlin, Jolly Elf and Mr. Ugly.
  11. Tomatoes are really a fruit, but…they can also be called a vegetable. In 1893, the Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes could also be called vegetables. In “the common language of the people,” a tomato is a vegetable, which at the time of the case, meant that the Tariff Act, which taxed important vegetables, could legally apply to tomatoes.


5 Great Protein Sources That Aren’t Meat – Corrie Pikul

You can easily meet your daily protein requirements with a steak, but you can also get the essential nutrient from these lesser-expected foods as well:

  1. The best for dieters: Nuts and seeds. Almonds and pistachios have about 5-7 grams of protein per ounce; macadamias and hazelnuts have 2-3 grams per ounce. Packed with protein as well as healthy monosaturated fat and fiber, nuts are surprisingly filling.
  2. The Best All-Purpose Alternative to Chicken: Soy. One half-cup of soybeans has about 34 grams of protein (in comparison, a half-cup of chicken has about 17 grams). Soybeans are the only plant food that is considered a “complete protein,” which means they provide all the essential amino acids in the amounts needed for good health.
  3. The Best Treat. Dairy. A cup of milk has about 8 grams of protein; an ounce of cheese has 6-7 grams, yogurt has 4-6 grams (per 6 ounce serving). Greek yogurt and kefir have 15-20 grams. Dairy foods are a high-quality protein food, and a little goes a long way toward meeting your amino acid and protein requirements. Almond milk, however, is so diluted from the source of the whole nut that the liquid has little to no protein.
  4. The Best for Antioxidants: Beans. A cup of cooked beans generally has between 12-16 grams of protein. Beans are low in fat and high in insoluble as well as soluble fiber, which helps promote a healthy digestive tract, lower blood cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of some types of cancer. Beans are considered “incomplete,” because they’re missing essential amino acids. Pair them with whole grains, which have the complementary amino acids.
  5. The Best Choice for Those Who Work Out a Lot: Eggs. One large egg has 6 grams of protein. Eggs are another perfect, complete protein, with all the amino acids your body needs. They also contain vitamin B12, which is involved in processes like fat breakdown, muscle contraction and promoting a healthy metabolism. Most of the protein is found in the egg white, but the yolks are where you will find Vitamins A, B12 and D, as well as calcium, folate and omegal-3s.


5 Underappreciated Summer Veggies You Should Learn To Love – Katie Cavuto

Considering this is the heart of the growing season in many regions of the country, it’s a great time to push yourself to think outside the vegetable box. These five underappreciate vegetables deserve some love.

  1. Okra. Also called “ladies’ fingers,” there’s more to this veggie than its slimy reputation. Rich in fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants such as vitamin A and C, you can control the texture/slime-factor by varying the cooking technique.
  2. Kohlrabi. Often referred to as the alien in the CSA box, kohlrabi is a versatile, nutrient-dense veggie. Naturally fat-free, it’s loaded with fiber, potassium and immune-boosting vitamin C.
  3. Mustard Greens. It’s common knowledge that dark leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses. A natural multivitamin, mustard greens are slightly spicy, even bitter, with a spunky, peppery flavor. They also taste great incorporated into dishes such as soups, stews or even lasagna.
  4. Cabbage. This inexpensive member of the brassica family is versatile and majorly good for you. It’s rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, has cholesterol-lowering capabilities and contains nutrients such as glucosinolates, polyphenols and glutamine that promote digestive health.
  5. Eggplant. Eggplant is rich in free-radical scavenging antioxidants. It can be roasted, pureed, grilled, sautéed, stewed, stuffed, or rolled and sliced. It absorbs whatever flavors you introduce.


Time to Panic: There May Be a Global Kale Shortage – Daniela Galarza

There is about to be a global kale shortage. According to ABC News Australia, Bejo Seeds, a company that provides kale seeds to farmers across the world, has run out of seeds.  The “superfood” has come a long way since it was primarily used to decorate butcher cases. A prominent farmer in Victoria, Australia says that over the last three years he has had to drop growing red cabbage and leeks to devote the ground to growing kale. Fifth generation growers have gone from planting 1,500 kale seedlings a few years ago to now planting 150,000 seedlings each week. Modern Farmer notes that it is hard to tell how Australia’s shortage will affect the US, but since Bejo Seeds also supplies to farmers in the states, it is possible that American consumers could feel the pinch. The popularity of the curly green leaf cannot be overstated. Per ABC news, last year 250 babies in the US were called “Kale”.


BrusselKale Is The Most Upsetting Hybrid Food Yet – Alison Spiegel

From the Cronut™ to the Ramen Burger, food mashups hit big last summer and almost immediately jumped the shark. People just can’t seem to resist ruining perfect foods by combining them into one illogical whole. People can’t resist capitalizing on a food trend, or even better, capitalizing on two trends in one. Case in point: BrusselKale. USA Today reported on July 10 that a new hybrid vegetable called BrusselKale is expected to hit US supermarkets nationwide this fall. British vegetable seed company Tozer Seeds has been developing BrusselKale for 15 years by traditional crop breeding. The vegetable is not genetically modified. The hybrid is already available on Tozer’s website under the name of “Flower Sprout”. Tozer says that BrusselKale has a more subtle flavor than Brussels sprouts, and was developed with texture in mind, so that it would be suitable for sautéing but also for eating raw.


Zero Waste Grocery Stores Do Away With All That Annoying Packaging – Starre Vartan

Zero waste at the supermarket isn’t just a crazy dream; a new store in Germany is promising exactly that. The Original Unverpackt in Berlin, is a project of two university dropouts who have spent two years putting the concept together. They crowdfunded the project, and the idea proved so popular they are more than doubly funded. The store will source food locally to reduce transportation costs and energy use, and will offer many items such as gravity bins, which let gravity do the work of dispensing foods. Containers that can be reused will be available, or better yet, you can bring your own. They will also carry non-food stuff like cleaning products and personal care items. The German project isn’t the only grocery store fighting wasteful packaging: Ingredients in Austin, TX was first. They offer hyper-local food and beverages that are filled in customers’ own containers. Called a micro-store, it is convenience store in size, but grocery-store-like in scope, and they’ve been open since 2012. Even if you don’t have a zero-waste grocery in your town, you can still cut down on the packaging you use by planning ahead, and patronizing those businesses that offer bulk-food buying. Farmers markets are great in this way too—you can give the farmer any packaging right back for reuse.


Starbucks tests how long coffee takes to cool so we don’t have to wait in line – Matthew Humphries

Starbucks wants to extend the functionality of its mobile app beyond just being able to pay for your drinks. It also wants you to be able to order your drink in advance and leave it waiting for you behind the counter. That means no more waiting in line and the potential to significantly increase the number of coffee sales. Of course, for such a service to work, the coffee still has to be perfectly drinkable when you arrive to collect it. But how long can you leave a freshly brewed cup of the hot stuff before it can sit there and still be classed as drinkable. That’s exactly what Starbucks is trying to figure out by doing experiments at its Seattle headquarters. Each brew Starbucks offers is being tested in a bid to figure out how long it can sit there and still be classed as drinkable. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a new cup that holds in the heat longer or a new device that keeps it hot? Whatever the solution, Starbucks is aiming to roll out the order-ahead feature of its mobile app later this year.


You Go, Joe! Here’s An All-In-One Portable Coffee Brewer And Mug. – Laura Neilson

It seems like there’s a bottomless pool of innovators constantly striving to develop better gadgets, tools and experiences for coffee drinkers. The newest piece of caffeine-fueled technology one-ups the average portable coffee mug with its ability to brew your coffee on the go. Hey Joe Coffee, which just completed a successful campaign on Kickstarter, is a handheld single-cup coffee maker that brews your java fresh whenever you want it, at three different temperatures. Using round tea bag-like pods made from biodegradable materials and seeds that can actually be planted afterwards, this battery-operated gadget also cuts down on the waste created by disposable cups and capsules used with most single-serve coffee makers. Once the pod is inserted and you’ve added water, simply press the button: once for 140 degrees F, twice for 150 degrees F and three times for cold brew. It sells for a “wallet-friendly” $69.