Friday, November 11, 2011

Wash What You Eat

I saw a report on the news about a salmonella outbreak linked to chicken liver. The suspect chicken liver is evidently packaged and sold in one of two ways: 10 pound boxes each holding two five pound bags labelled "Broiled Chicken Liver: Made for Further Thermal Processing" and 10 pound boxes of loose packed "Chicken Liver Broiled."

I'm the first to roll my eyes at the post-McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit era's over-lawyered CYA labelling of everything but I think the chicken liver folks could have used more input. Yes, the packages do say that the meat has to be cooked thoroughly and no I have no idea how raw those chicken livers actually looked inside the package but in a world where people need to be told that coffee is going to be hot and knives are sharp is it so surprising that a consumer might assume something that is "Broiled" has actually been cooked?

Which brings me to my latest beef: why do the so-called convenience bags of greens say "ready to eat" but then suggest that you wash the contents? Exactly what step are you saving me? The bagging? The chopping?

I just found bagged, chopped kale at the store yesterday, which I was psyched about because the process of washing giant heads of kale and separating the more-edible parts from the less-edible parts sometimes feels endless. Looking at the bag at home, I noticed that it said "ready to cook" (as opposed to ready to eat in a salad) in several places. Chicken livers fresh in my mind, I placed a quick call to the customer service number to make sure they hadn't somehow assumed I'd be broiling away some bacteria.

"No, no," the woman assured me, "it's fine for a salad. Just be sure to wash it first." Gaaah!

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