The Dangers of Fake Food

Today’s Washington Post details the current recall of processed foods made with hydrolyzed vegetable protein from Basic Food Flavors, a list that is now over 100 products.

Basic Food Flavors tested surfaces near food-processing equipment throughout its plant twice in January and once in February, and each time the samples showed salmonella contamination, according to FDA records. The company continued to ship products and to make more HVP without cleaning the plant or the equipment in a way that would have minimized contamination, the records said.

Foods that used the contaminated HVP include some sold by national chains and manufacturers such as Trader Joe’s, CVS, and McCormick.

The description of the Basic factory conditions is truly disgusting.  It should, in the best of all possible worlds, have the effect that Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle had on the meat-packing industry, including inspiring the creation of the Food and Drug Administration – only, now we already have the FDA. Unfortunately, the FDA does not have enough inspectors to police food manufacturing; it generally only checks when there is an epidemic or a complaint.

Maybe this will at least persuade people not to use gravy, stuffing, and salad dressing mixes and buy so many other snack and prepared foods.  Is it harder to mix vinegar, oil, and dried seasonings yourself than to dump in a packet of who knows what? Is gravy really too hard to make without a packet of gravy mix? Really?

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