Monday, March 4, 2013

Must-Know Mondays: Food Fraud


With stories surfacing like the horse meat in Burger King burgers in Europe, then the IKEA meatballs my interest for mystery meats has been peaked. The video below is a few minutes long, but totally worth the watch...

Widespread mislabeling of fish, decreased inspectors for produce, mystery meat sold to mass production chains?? What the heck are we eating?! (and don't even get me started on the spices and dried herb mixes that are actually cut with flour to give you "more value" when it's really less spice, more fluff)

Throughout my pregnancy, I have been cooking more meals from scratch; not only because it's more affordable, but because this way I know the ingredients I am ingesting and in turn, feeding my baby. 

Early in the pregnancy I would catch myself out with coworkers for a quick lunch and find feta instead of parmesan in my pasta, bleu cheese snuck into my salad and the deli meat subs piled on top of my veggie subs for corporate meetings. Shrugging it off as accidental with limited risk, I would scrape and pick out as much stinky cheese as I could. In the event of the deli meat covering my veggie sub, I'd be sure to double up on water that day to wash out any extra sodium that snuck into my sandwich. 

These mistakes are small, but frustrated me because I don't like not knowing what I'm eating...however I never stopped to consider what the bigger problem in our food is: fraud. 

How many times have you eaten a burger on-the-go in the last week? Month? Did you stop and ask yourself, "Is this burger 100% beef?" because chances are, it's not

What about the delicious fish dinner you spent $100 on with your honey? Did you stop to wonder if the "Red Snapper" on your plate was truly what the menu described? It may not have been. 

Food fraud is becoming endemic around the world and while "mystery meats" haven't been discovered (yet) in the U.S. my guess is it is only a matter of time. Do you think things will get better because people are always aiming to do the right thing? My guess is no. 

This gut-wrenching realization only fuels the fire inside of me to grow all of my family's produce in the backyard this summer. 

For whatever reason, I'm less concerned with the meats we purchase because it's hard to disguise a chicken breast or package of thighs as anything but. That said, I've still done a little research to find local beef and hog producers. 

There is a farm less than 10 miles from our home which offers locally grown, organically-raised grass-fed beef, raw milk, and pasture-raised chicken, pork, and free-range eggs. Is it just me, or does this sound like Heaven? 

I'm not sure if we'll take the plunge this year and buy a 50 lb Freezer Pack of Beef or a Half Hog, but know that the thought hasn't left my mind since I found this farm a few months ago. Knowing exactly where our meat came from and that it was raised and butchered locally gives me all kinds of relief. The big hang up for me is the expense (as it always is).

I know I'm sounding crunchier than ever, but I only want the best for my family. My over-protective "Mama Bear" instinct is shining more brightly every day...and right now the thought of stopping for a quick snack at fast food restaurant makes my stomach turn. 

Do you worry about what you and your family are eating – at home or in restaurants? 


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