Tag Archives: packaging

Kraft Grate-it-Fresh : A Review in Pictures

I received the Parmesan cheese that was offered by the Kraft Intern (as mentioned in this post). I realize that others have reviewed this product, but what they’ve written bears repeating.

In short, this product pictured to the right should be avoided.

I know, I know. My bias against Kraft is clearly showing, and by all means should be taken into account when you readers out there mull over my words. This is why I am trying my darndest from saying phrases such as “tastes like sawdust” or “Parmesan made with skim milk? What were they thinking?”

As taste can be subjective, I’m going to refrain from voicing my personal feelings towards the quality of the product (*cough* tasteless *cough*), and instead appeal to the more ecological and environmental impact of this grated cheese product.

The selling point of Grate-it-fresh is that a consumer can grate their own cheese, straight out of the package. The idea is that it’s the act of grating the cheese that affects the quality of the product. As Adam the Intern wrote in that e-mail, “It’s kind of like bringing that authentic Italian restaurant feeling home to the family.”

Yeah, I know. I don’t quite understand that either. Call me crazy, but what makes an ‘authentic Italian restaurant feeling’ is high quality food products prepared via simple methods with great care. But hey, that’s me.

The travesty of the product comes when you read the package. None of grater is re-usable. Kraft doesn’t recommend washing the grater in the dishwasher, nor do they recommend re-using the grater after all the cheese within the product has been used.

What this means is, after a consumer is done with the Kraft product, they end up with…not one, not two, but five separate pieces of plastic (pictured below) which must go into the garbage.

Compare the picture above with the one below.

This piece of parchment paper is all that remains behind after consuming a piece of parmesan cheese from the local Italian Deli I frequent.

This dichotomy is a wonderful representation of what is wrong with the mega-food corporations. Here they have taken a simplistic piece of parmesan cheese, and complicated it by adding an extensive non-reusable, plastic package. Kraft is clearly trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, and in doing so is adding to a well-established one.

Besides, an investment of fourteen bucks on Amazon can take care of your cheese grating needs for the next ten years.

My advice? If you see the product pictured below, walk on by.

Instead, maintain a tradition that has served us well for as long as anyone can remember.

Technorati Tags: Product Review, Kraft, Grate-it-Fresh

Carbon Monoxide and Meat

From the New York Times comes this tidbit of a story:

If some of the meat in supermarkets is looking rosier than it used to, the reason is that a growing number of markets are selling it in airtight packages treated with a touch of carbon monoxide to help the product stay red for weeks.

This form of “modified atmosphere packaging,” a technique in which other gases replace oxygen, has become more widely used as supermarkets eliminate their butchers and buy precut, “case-ready” meat from processing plants.

Carbon Monoxide was allowed via an end around of our food laws. You see, US department of agriculture’s regulations prohibit the introduction of ingredients in fresh meat that function to conceal damage or inferiority, or give the appearance the product is of better or greater value. So how did the meat industry get around this?

They went to the Food and Drug Administration instead. This is akin to a child asking permission to go to a party from the mother, because they know that the father well say no.

The FDA accepted then accepted this process as “Generally Recognized As Safe”, meaning since no one has been proven to become ill from this gassing technique, then it’s probably okay.

Of course, companies aren’t required to tell you that they’ve gassed your meat. Why? Because we probably wouldn’t buy it.

Meanwhile, other countries of the world have banned the practice. The European Union has prohibited the use of carbon monoxide for meat and tuna products, stating that “the stable cherry-colour can last beyond the microbial shelf life of the meat and thus mask spoilage.” Japan, Canada and Singapore have also banned the use of carbon monoxide.

At the very least, consumers should have the right to know which products have been gassed, safe or not. But even safety may be an issue. As was reported in the Times, one study found that when meat in modified packages that included carbon monoxide was stored at 10 degrees above the proper temperature, salmonella grew more easily than if left untreated.

Isn’t nice when food industries have more say over our food supply?

As always, let me remind you all of the one way to avoid this sort of stuff — Find a butcher you know and trust and have them cut the meat in front of you. 99% of all of the crap that the agri-business pulls will be avoided this way.

Technorati Tags: Food, Meat, Carbon Monoxide

Candy Wrapper Museum

Proving once again that you can find nearly anything on the Internet, here’s a site that deals exclusively with candy wrappers.

Yeah, yeah…some of you may not think this is a big deal, but as Greg demonstrated in the comments, the site can answer some of the questions that have been bugging you. Such as: Why doesn’t anyone talk about “Fruit n Plenty”?

The answer: because they’re not called “Fruit n Plenty”, but rather “Good n Fruity“. Once I clicked on the link, I had to explore near the entire site, which made me reminisce about Halloweens past.