Monday, August 23, 2010

Not So Meatless Monday

Food labeled “Certified Organic” comes with several promises, one of which is that no synthetic pesticides were used during its production. While the promise is a good one, I have been aware for a while now that it does leave the consumer vulnerable to certain other risks. (And I am not just talking about going over budget.)

I have my own Food Rules when it comes to dealing with organic food purchases.
  • If it is produce, wash it well. Very well. Several times.
  • If it is perishable, get it into the refrigerator right away.
  • Eat it quickly.
  • If it comes in a plastic bag, inspect it thoroughly and put it into an airtight container for storage.

I did that with the organic almonds I bought fairly recently. Well, almost. I got them home. I put them in the cupboard where they remained in their sealed plastic bag for a couple of weeks. When I eventually did open them, I promptly emptied them into a clean Italian espresso can with a screw top. For days I have been eating them by the handful and enjoying them on top of oatmeal.

This morning I had some on my Stonyfield Banilla yogurt. A short time later my husband noticed some very fine white powder on the kitchen table with the tiniest brown ants milling around in it.

Where had they come from? What had been in that spot? The almond can! We unscrewed the lid and looked inside to find almonds on top and little brown ants and white powder underneath. Lots of white powder. Lots of ants. It was humid today and we had a small fan set on low, apparently creating a breeze just strong enough to blow some of the fluffy powder (with its lightweight occupants) to the table while I was pouring the almonds out. I’m so glad this happened and even happier that we noticed. Otherwise I still would not know what was transpiring in the espresso can. Take note that even the most vigilant of the food police can become an innocent victim.

I am pretty certain I got a little animal protein with my vegetarian breakfast. I hope it was organic. For today I have inadvertently joined the world’s insect-eating majority. So much for Meatless Monday this week.

PS I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal  health and the health of our planet.”

No comments:

Post a Comment