ShopSmart Unwraps the Secrets Within Our Food

May 16, 2011

~ Top Food Shockers ~

YONKERS, N.Y., May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Deadly bacteria in spinach, eggs, and peanut butter make for scary headlines. But almost as shocking is what isn’t in the news– the stuff that’s actually allowed in food, like insect parts and toxic chemicals. The June 2011 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, unveils the top ten food shockers that the food labels won’t tell you. Plus, what you can do to avoid them.

“Informing our readers about making smarter choices is a big part of what we do,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “By offering a better understanding of the groceries being tossed into our supermarket carts, we can provide consumers with the opportunity to make better informed decisions about the products we consume on a daily basis.”

ShopSmart’s top food shockers and what you can do:


Because it wouldn’t be feasible to grow, harvest, and process food without a few tiny creepy-crawlies hitchhiking along, the Food and Drug Administration sets tolerance levels for what are termed “naturally occurring defects.” For example a 24-ounce container of cornmeal can have up to 13 insects, 745 insect fragments, and 27 rodent hairs.

What you can do

If you discover unwanted visitors in a newly purchased product, return it to the store or the manufacturer for a refund. If you’re not sure whether a food is infested, freeze it for four days or heat it in the oven at 140-degrees F for an hour to kill insects and eggs.


The FDA does not require labeling on most products that contain genetically engineered plant material or on meat and milk from cloned animals. Genetically modified versions of corn, soybeans, canola, and cotton are widely sold in the U.S.

What you can do

If you’d prefer to avoid milk and meat from cloned cows and genetically modified plant ingredients, buy organic. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid consuming some genetically modified ingredients.


Livestock feed can include things like cow meat and bones, which might be fed to chickens, pigs, and even farmed fish. And cows might be fed processed feathers and waste from the floors of chicken coops.

What you can do

Look for beef or chicken certified organic by the USDA. Claims of “no additives,” “no antibiotics,” “no hormones,” and “no steroids” are less reliable since they can’t be verified.


Some labels can outsmart even careful shoppers. “Natural” products might contain high-fructose corn syrup; a food “made with” an ingredient often includes just a smidgen; and a “whole-grain” cereal could lack substantial fiber.

What you can do

If you want the whole story, you still have to flip to the back label and scan the nutrition facts. Check not just the calories but also serving sizes. And scan the percent of daily values.


Many supermarkets sell ground beef and steaks packaged with gas that keeps them looking fresh and red for a month or more, even if the meat has spoiled. In that process, used in factory-wrapped (or case-ready) meat, most of the oxygen in the package is replaced with other gases, including tiny amounts of carbon monoxide, that react with pigment and keep the meat red.

What you can do

Ask whether your grocer sells meat packed with carbon monoxide. For fruits, buy locally or at least what’s in season. (Frozen fruits and veggies are a good option any time of year because they’re usually flash frozen immediately after harvest.)

About ShopSmart magazine:

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer Reports’ celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of

$4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.ShopSmartmag.org.

ShopSmart is now available 10 times a year. Subscribe at www.ShopSmartmag.org.

SOURCE ShopSmart Magazine

Source: newswire

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