2/25/10

Food Propaganda

I get frustrated when I go food shopping, by what I will kindly refer to as "food propaganda." If you don't spend time reading the labels, you can end up buying something that's not really what you think it is, or where you think it is from. For example, I was looking for some Florida strawberries for my Spinach Salad with Fruit. I found a box of good looking berries (green tops looked fresh, berries looked red and firm), and the brand on the label said "California Berries." First thought was... well, California is a lot further away from me than Florida... then I noticed in tiny print at the bottom of the label "Product of Mexico." I was furious! There were some California Berries blueberries on the next shelf. They were identified, in tiny type, as "Product of Chile." Since when are Mexico and Chile part of California?!?! Needless to say, I didn't buy any berries. Then I went to buy romaine. I want to support USA farmers, so I opted for the non-organic heads marked Product of USA instead of the organic romaine which was Product of Mexico. Why can we not eat raw veggies in Mexico without getting Montezuma's Revenge, but when they are shipped here for us to eat it's ok? By the way, fresh produce is supposed to be marked with the country of origin, often on those annoying little stickers. I've stopped buying fresh ginger root, since I only see "Product of China" on the sticky labels lately. I'd rather substitute organic ground ginger root powder than eat a root grown in China.
Be careful too when buying seafood. A friend told me her sister worked for a salmon company in Alaska and their product was sold frozen at Walmart (not a favorite place of mine). The next time I was there, I found "Wild Caught Alaska Salmon" with the frozen seafood. On the back was small type: "Caught in USA, processed and packaged in China for Walmart." I could hardly believe it. How can we let this happen? The best I can do is protest by not buying it, and I hope you will do the same.