Another Place Corn and Soy are Hiding
I wandered down the aisle of frozen vegetables, happily shopping in an area of the store that was “safe” on a true gluten free diet (for more on what I mean by that, please read this).
I was working on a recipe that was heavy on chopped herbs, and a friend had mentioned that there were pre-chopped herbs available in the frozen section.
Looking for a Safe Shortcut
I always prefer to use fresh of anything; the only reason I even considered the frozen option was because of the massive amount that I needed that particular day. I was also dealing with an already-exhausted-chopping arm from some serious vegetable cuttings that had also been involved. Plus, who isn’t looking to be more efficient and resourceful?
Just as I was wondering if I had imagined the conversation about the existence of frozen chopped herbs, I stumbled across this package that proudly announced it’s contents: chopped parsley! I also saw that they had cilantro (my favorite herb and go-to), but I already had plenty since figuring out how to freeze dry it fresh from the garden last summer (see link here).
Excited (I know, it’s the little things that really make me happy!) I grabbed the package and put it in my cart, along with some olive oil, fresh garlic, and walnuts to make a a parsley pesto sauce. Here’s a picture I took as I grabbed it out of the freezer:
It seemed innocent enough. Here it was, a little package of chopped up parsley, even saved into little cubes that would make it simple to measure, add, and even store if I had any leftover. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love packaging that makes sense. This was great!
For good measure, I stepped back and also grabbed a package of cilantro, thinking I could blog about the comparison of quality and texture from my garden-fresh variety to this brand. Just as I almost blissfully left the frozen aisle behind and was moving ahead to the checkout, I caught sight of the ingredient list (always, always, always read the ingredients, even if it’s a product you have purchased previously). I lost a few points on my label warrior status that day; it took me quite by surprise!
What in the WORLD?
The Ingredient Label
Here are my ingredient label call-outs and questions…what are yours?
- What does Cilantro blend mean (varieties, blended with something else, or what)?
- What does Cilantro, 83% mean (again, blended with an unnamed product)?
- SOYBEAN oil….WHY???
- Dextrose (usually sugar made from corn) in an herb…WHY???
- Corn starch…please explain the purpose of corn starch in chopped parsley?
While not an ingredient issue, I also noticed that it was a product of Israel. That’s definitely NOT local, and it’s traveled a LONG way to get here (think about all that it has gone through just to make it to the shelf! Something to consider when you can easily grow this in your own kitchen.)
If I had eaten this, it would have made me ill. Corn and soy can ignite all kinds of gluten antibodies to come back to life (which can mean a lot of different symptoms or reactions), and corn has been shown to cause villous atrophy (a breakdown of the intestinal lining). I don’t know why I was that surprised, since it seems so many things at the grocery store contain these ingredients. However, this was something that I thought should have been pure. I considered it a vegetable; something that should easily have been freeze dried like what I had done with the cilantro from my garden.
I made a quick trip back to the frozen aisle and put them right back. Fresh parsley was the only answer!
Although I’ve asked these questions before, I continue to ask…why, why, why are corn and soy added to almost every single thing we consume that’s in a package? Does this surprise you?