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3 Reasons Not To Eat Frozen Food

3 Reasons Not To Eat Frozen Food

It’s convenient. It’s cheap. It’s usually rock hard and sprinkled with frost.

Cold-weather cultures have been freezing food to preserve it for consumption later for many years, but the discovery of flash freezing to retain texture and flavor is credited to Canadian Clarence Birdseye.

The Frozen Food Digest reported last year that U.S. retail sales of frozen foods and beverages through all retail channels totaled $52 billion in 2008.

These days, many people depend on TV dinners, frozen french fries, frozen pizzas, and even frozen fish for a large percentage of their diet. But any product that markets itself as cheap and easy is usually hiding something undesirable behind all positive advertising.

Here are three chilling facts should consider before grabbing dinner on ice:

Too Much Fat, Too Few Calories

Many frozen foods manufacturers tout their product as the perfect meal for someone trying to control their portion sizes and lose weight. However, an article on WebMD points out that not all low-fat, low-calorie claims are giving consumers an accurate picture of the real nutritional content of a TV dinner.

“Some low-cal, low-fat dinners provide only about 250 or 300 calories. And if that’s truly a third of your daily caloric intake (given three meals a day), that totals less than 1,000 calories — not nearly enough food even if you are trying to lose weight.”

An evaluation from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) also found that the four or five grams of saturated fat listed in most of these “low-fat” meals doesn’t sound too alarming, until you consider the fact that this makes up almonst 20 percent of the calories.

The CSPI study also found that frozen dinners tended to include high levels of sodium, and skimpy portions of vegetables.

Supermarket Freezers Are Big Greenhouse Gas Emitters

A recent study by Environmental Investigation Agency – an international campaigning organization – claims that greenhouse gases used in large freezers and fridges by supermarkets are as harmful to the environment as plastic bags.

In the 1990′s HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) were introduced to replace ozone depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and HCFCs hydrochlorofluorocarbons). However this switch to refrigerants that do not damage the ozone layer brought in a generation of chemicals with a greenhouse effect thousands of times stronger than CO2 (Guardian).

The Guardian states that chemicals released by fridges account for 30 percent of supermarkets’ direct emissions, yet only 0.5 percent of stores have been fitted with greener equipment, according to the EIA’s report, called Chilling Facts.

Waffles Taste Better With Syrup, Not Sewage

If you’ve cruised the frozen food aisle of your favorite grocery store lately looking for a quick breakfast option, you might have noticed that the loveable Eggo Waffles were suspiciously missing. What the “we’re sorry this product is out of stock” sign didn’t tell you is why.

The Food Safety Network reports that “on a routine inspection of the Kellogg’s frozen food manufacturing facility on Bucknell Road in Atlanta, last Aug. 31st, the Georgia Department of Agriculture found Listeria monocytogenes in a sample of buttermilk Eggo waffles.”

Although this initial inspection caused Kellogg’s dispose of an entire shipment of waffles and recall some of it’s other Eggo products, it was assumed that closing the Atlanta plant down for “hygienic restoration” would have taken care of the problem.

But when the FDA inspected returned to the plant in October 2009, taking a variety of samples of both finished and in-process samples and environmental swabs for its own testing, those results were also positive for Listeria.

A Jan. 27 letter from the FDA pointed out that inspectors also found “significant deviations” from current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations at the Kellogg’s plant.  FDA’s Acting Atlanta District Director LaTonya M. Mitchell, said Kellogg’s violations mean products from the Atlanta plant are “adulterated.”

Yum.

Get Educated About Food With This Related Reading:

Soft Drinks & Cancer, Chocolate & Strokes

USDA (Finally) Takes Steps To Make School Lunches Safer

Pancreatic Cancer: The Latest Reason Not To Consume Soft Drinks

Read more: , , , ,

Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - stevendepolo

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128 comments

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9:10AM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

Bad article, Frozen Veggies are actualy better for you than fresh because they are picked and flash frozen when harvested. You are lumping all frozen food together which is misleading. Yes frozen pizzas, nuggets, and dinners are horrible, which is way I can't understand so many women buying lean cuisene, WW, and healthy choice meals that loaded with sodium. But Frozen veggies are good for you.

8:21AM PDT on Sep 3, 2010

Frozen vegetables and fruit retain most of their vitamins and nutrients.They are flash frozen and most are low sodium.Don"t buy the frozen pizza and TV dinners as they are junk food.

11:37AM PDT on Sep 2, 2010

frozen food lacks taste and nutrition.

12:51PM PDT on Aug 30, 2010

I am assuming that most of what has been said in this article refers to ready meals, pre-cooked meals and such like.
Frozen veg - well, we're told to buy fresh, but then we're told that frozen veg is actually fresher; and we're told not to buy canned, but then we're told that canned veg is actually fresher.

Maybe it all comes back down to: read the label, and don't buy stuff that's full of chemicals.

6:01PM PDT on Aug 27, 2010

Good Information. Thanks.

10:42AM PDT on Aug 27, 2010

I only eat Kashi or Amy's Organic frozen meals. Fresh food just tastes better!

6:34AM PDT on Aug 27, 2010

In my part of the country, New England, "fresh" veggies in the long winter season entail a very large carbon footprint for transport from their growing region. We are cautioned against canned goods due to BPA exposure. Eating only un-sulphured dried fruits for 5 months a year is not a realistic option. It would be helpful to see an article addressing all of these issues as I suspect it is a matter of ultimately choosing the lesser of evils.

9:51AM PDT on Apr 14, 2010

i prefer fresh food any way!

6:48PM PST on Mar 10, 2010

I recently read an article about frozen foods being more nutritious than fresh, because fresh foods often languish for weeks before being consumed, while frozen foods are frozen immediately after harvest. Just something to consider.

5:31PM PST on Mar 4, 2010

I don't care sometimes frozen food is quicker/faster and easier.

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