Truth or Consequences : Egg Labels

Wed, Sep 17 • 0

The New York Times has a pretty good article about the information you’ll find on an egg carton … what’s required, what the government allows them to claim, and what’s just creative story-telling.

“For eggs from chickens that live in the sort of utopia conveyed by the images on most egg cartons, look for “animal welfare approved.” Available in limited markets, it is a new label by the Animal Welfare Institute that is given only to independent family farmers. Flocks can have no more than 500 birds, and chickens over 4 weeks old must be able to spend all their time outside on pesticide-free pasture with a variety of vegetation. They must have access to dust baths and cannot have their beaks trimmed (a practice on crowded egg farms) or be fed animal byproducts.”

Have You Been Short-Sized?

Wed, Sep 17 • 0

They have a gallery up over on The Consumerist showing 34 examples of what they call the “grocery shrink-ray…”  Manufacturers hope you won’t notice, but even the New York Times noticed : “In industry lingo, it’s called short-sizing. Aiming to offset increased ingredient and transportation costs, some of the nation’s food manufacturers are reducing the size of packages. The price, of course, usually stays the same.”

How do you save yourself from this pernicious downsizing? Check the shelf — if you’re like the people in the Consumerist photo essay, you might be able to actually find examples of the before-and-after on the shelf, and score the bigger sizes. Otherwise, the best way to combat the phenomenon is to turn off your automatic pilot when you’re in the grocery store, and stop buying products just because you always buy them. Actually check the unit prices, and look for the product with the best price that way. Of course, if the only peanut butter you like is Skippy Super-Duper Double Chunky-chunk-chunk, then go ahead and buy it, but know you’re probably not getting as good a value as you’re used to.

Alternatives to Reusable Canvas Grocery Bags

Thu, Jul 17 • 3

How To Carry Groceries With A Square Of Cloth

Fish Market : What to Buy, What to Avoid

Wed, Jul 16 • 1

Monterey Bay Aquarium provides an excellent list of which fish and seafood to buy and which to skip.

It’s fully hyperlinked, so you’ll find out why you should avoid a particular fish. Orange Roughy, for example, is a fish I’ve bought and wrote here about in the last few months, but I had no idea it was on the avoid list… (due to its slow reproductive rate and potentially high mercury content). I was also surprised to see Atlantic cod on the list (due to overfishing).

You can view the list by region (US only), and you can print the list out, and make informed decisions next time you’re at the market.

Decoding PLU Numbers

Sun, Apr 20 • 0

Here’s a very interesting bit of information from our friends at Serious Eats about the numbers they put on those little stickers on items from the produce department…

Conventional produce gets a four-digit number.
Organic produce gets a five-digit number that starts with 9.
Genetically modified items also get a five-digit code, but that code starts with 8.

4139: Conventional Granny Smith apple
94139: Organic Granny Smith
84139: GMO Granny Smith

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