Battlepanda: Two Foody pieces


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Two Foody pieces

I'm kicking back with my good friend Quyen, who is a food fanatic. She points me to two articles that surely document the fall of our civilization. First, the Crunch Pak -- apples pre-sliced and dipped in "sealant" to prevent them from browning so that they can be stocked on shelves and ready to go.
Crunch Pak was one of the first companies that labored to bring the new
apple on line. Each found early on that what can be done casually at home —
slicing an apple and squeezing lemon juice on it — is maddeningly difficult to
pull off in a factory. The anti-browning bath is only one movement in a grand
symphony of technologies at work. For nearly two decades, teams of food
scientists, engineers and can-do businessmen struggled to pin down the apple,
while the apple skirted and ducked them at every turn. They zigged, the apple
zagged. Clearing one hurdle only brought more into view, and even now the
particulars of production must be reassessed and rejiggered daily. The apple,
Freytag told me when we first met, "is a moving target."

Secondly, we have the sad (but not wholly unexpected) case of the organic product that is hardly any better than conventional. Shame on you, Horizon farms.
In recent weeks, as revelations of Horizon's farming practices have come to light, a collection of consumer groups and organic dairy farmers have erupted in protest. Horizon and similar dairies are capitalizing on the boom in organic foods, they say, but diluting the true meaning of the term. Contrary to genuine organic practices, which entail raising cows on open pastures, where the animals feed on grass, experts say that a substantial percentage of cows at farms like Horizon's are confined to pens, fed a diet of proteins and grains, and produce milk that, while free of hormones, is not as healthy as it could be.