FAQs on Food Safety

If GE salmon came to your supermarket, would you recognize it?

Shortly before Thanksgiving 2015, the FDA granted final approval for thej sale of genetically modified salmon, making this very nutritious fish the first GMO animal the U.S. government has allowed on the market.   Although genetically modified plant products are ingredients in roughly 70% of processed American foods with no labeling required,  the EWG (Environmental Working Group) and other consumer advocacy groups are making more news by objecting (primarily through online campaigns) to the fact that, once GE salmon is in stores, consumers may have no way of telling the modified salmon from conventional salmon.  The argument is that we have a right to know the nature of the food we're buying and eating.  The underlying concern: fear that the product could be harmful to human health.

How risky is that burger you're biting into?

BurgerReader beware: Don't believe everything you find in print. And, when your text is about food safety, make a distinction between fact and opinion. These preceding pieces of advice were inspired by a recent Consumer Reports article and a tip on safe cooking in a book entitled  Great Kitchen Secrets.  Let's find out how our Shelf Life Advice Advisory Board scientists reacted to both, beginning with the  famous magazine.

FAQs on BPA: the attacks continue, but are they justified?

soup non-BPAFor the past 6 years, Shelf Life Advice has been posting information about BPA. That's when the chemical first came on the horizon as a health concern, says the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter. In case you've missed all the bad press BPA has gotten, here's a quick definition and review: BPA is a chemical compound (Bisphenol-A) that's been used to make a wide array of plastic products including bottles, silverware food packaging, most soup and beer can linings, store receipts, dental composites, eyeglass lenses, auto parts, and compact disks.  It works fine for all of these purposes, but it also has many people worry about possible harm to the human body. 


BPA has inspired fierce debate and a great deal of media attention, including two recent articles in Newsweek.  Here's the main question being debated: Is it harmful to humans, or is the amount we're exposed to so small that its presence is insignificant and/or is it excreted so rapidly that it's no threat to human health? At this time, it's still perfectly legal to use BPA in products that come in contact with foods, except for those consumed by infants. 

Food Bars/Buffets in Supermarkets--Is the food safe? How can you tell?

food barPerhaps you've noticed this: some sections of supermarkets are morphing into restaurants. Cold food bars offer everything customers need to make a glorious salad. Hot food bars have soups, entrées, pastas, potatoes, cooked vegetables, casseroles, and more.  Everything is there, just awaiting your tongs or spoon, to enable you to take home an entire tasty dinner.  But, you may wonder, is all this exposed food safe?  Is it held at the proper temperature so bacteria can't multiply rapidly? Is it properly protected from consumers with a cough or unclean hands?  Is it maintained by employees in a sanitary way? We asked our Shelf Life Advice Board members (all scientists) to give concerned consumers tips on safe food bar usage.

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