This afternoon, as I browsed through the produce department of Albertson's Supermarket in the metroplex of Dallas, Texas, trying to concentrate on my shopping list while speakers screamed and hawked products on sale, I was saddened to read a large sign posted over the broccoli:
The sign mentions "food grade vegetable, petroleum, beeswax and/or
Lac-Resin." In other words, the food has been contaminated with one of the
above. It reminds me of those big colorful envelopes I receive every
month: YOU HAVE JUST WON ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: New Car; New Home; New
Stereo; or $10,000 in cash. And with a little checking, you find out that
the new stereo is a hand-held import measuring six inches across with a
value of about five dollars. That's of course the prize. I would bet my
bottom dollar that "food grade petroleum" is the "one of the above" wax of
preference used in the majority of cases. Just what is "food grade"
petroleum, anyway? Should we mix it with milk and give it to our kids?
We are led to believe that the bounty of nature would spoil unless treated
with some synthetic product. What, pray tell, did our ancestors do all
those years ago? Eat rotten potatoes?
Of course, some fruits and vegetables can be peeled. Apples, for instance.
But we're told to eat apple skin as a form of roughage. Yet, to prevent
chewing, swallowing and trying to digest motor oil, we must forego eating
apple skin. No longer can we have a good old-fashioned baked apple,
sizzling in its honey covered skin like Grandma used to make, because some
oil based product may gum up our innards or clog our liver.
It seems to me that if vegetables and fruits were picked nearly ripe,
shipped quickly to central distribution centers and put on display
immediately, there would be little need for artificial chemical sprays to
prolong their shelf life.
So, I ask, for whose benefit is this "freshness" treatment being done? Is
it for the consumer? I don't think so! I wasn't asked. If I were, I'd say
"No! I don't need to eat chemical wax today." Since we weren't consulted,
I tend to believe it's entirely to improve the profit picture at Albertson's.
Writer, Dallas, Texas
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