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Hair

January 17, 2013

Extracting someone else’s hair from your mouth is never appetizing. I get that. Believe it or not, I find hair in food quite a bit. I don’t know if it’s my eye for detail, my propensity to take small bites and chew food well, or an extra sensitive mouth. But if there’s hair in a dish, I’m going to find it.

For many people this is an egregious offense. For some, finding a hair in their food completely ruins their meal. It would seem that others expect an errant hair to end in a comped meal and a gift card for a future visit.

But I don’t understand these people at all.

Food is dirty. Vegetables grow in dirt. Animals are a seething mass of bacteria. Fruit attracts bugs. Cheese is nothing more than the controlled spoiling of milk. Of all the things that could accidentally get into my food, a hair is among the lesser evils. What is it about hair that drives people into apoplexy? Seriously, I want to know.

What I find truly upsetting is not the clearly visible stray hair, but rather the things in my food that I can’t see. Here are a few for starters.

Here’s an oldie but goodie: BPA in the lining of canned foods

To which you may say, “Well that’s no problem because now there are manufacturers labeling canned foods as BPA-free”. That is all well and good, but there’s a problem with that. Meet Bill Carvalho, the president and founder of Wild Planet Foods, He was proudly using BPA-free cans for his sustainably sourced wild seafood. Then he tested them. Turns out they weren’t exactly BPA-free.

Bill is pissed and you should be too. Rounding down something into nothing might work out mathematically. But it’s problematic should you try to say there isn’t anything there. Just because you are rounding down doesn’t make it go away.

Fun with science: Tasty nanoparticles

Speaking of rounding down, here’s an academic question. If an ingredient is so small it can’t be seen by the naked eye (or even most microscopes), should it be listed on the label? Heavens, no. Why would you want to know what’s in your food, especially since we have no real idea what it will do to you?

Tell you what. Why don’t you eat some for the next 20 years or so, and we’ll see how you feel.

Oh. Except it’s not an academic question. There are totally nanoparticles (and by that I mean engineered nanoscale materials–ENMs–not simply natural occurring nanoparticles) in your food.  Depending on who you believe, they may already be coating the outside of your banana to outperform even the best food wax currently on the market.

Ethically shaky: Cultural destruction with every bite of quinoa

I hope you are going to eat all your quinoa. Why? Because some poor Bolivian family is going without their dietary staple. I wish I were kidding. Americans seem to screw the pooch regardless of our food choices. We eat Big Macs and get slammed by the world for the rising global obesity epidemic. Or in this case we try to eat healthier and end up raising the price of quinoa, thus making it too expensive for locals to nourish their bodies from their own crops. Yep, now it’s cheaper to eat junk food in Bolivia and Peru too.

Way to go us.

Not only that, but a desire to profit from this ancient grain is producing an agricultural monoculture as farmers try to cash in on its popularity. And that’s not good either.

It’s dreadful. All of it. Well, except for the hair. Just take it out of your mouth and move on. Because if that’s what is disgusting you, you need to pay more attention to what’s happening with your food.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2013 3:04 pm

    Because I needed more reasons to feel guilty. Thank you.

  2. January 17, 2013 6:10 pm

    I have two long-haired cats. Hair in my quinoa (and on my clothes, and in my car) is a common occurrence.

  3. January 18, 2013 6:07 pm

    I’m with Andrea, once you have pets, hair in food is sometimes inevitable – no matter how hard you try. My mom used to be crazy about hair in food but it’s never really bothered me all that much. I think the only time it really bugged me when there was a short, coarse, curly black hair sitting on top of my rice from a crappy Chinese restaurant (full of people with straight hair. ahem). That grossed me out and I didn’t eat that day. A couple of years later (at a different Chinese place that I still go to today) there was a cricket in my sauteed green beans. I still ate the green beans after picking out Jiminy.

    You’re right though. In general, people don’t seem to be as concerned with more important issues surrounding their food.

  4. February 6, 2013 11:51 am

    Maybe I’ll drop 10-20 plants in the garden this year…http://www.gardeningblog.net/how-to-grow/quinoa/

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