The shelves of popular supermarkets are increasingly reminiscent of food exhibitions, and every trip for products for the buyer turns into an endless dispute with himself: what to put in the basket, and which product bypasses, what is good for the body, and what is the danger? The range of supermarkets is so wide that it is difficult not to get lost and not to buy too much. But in the windows of stores can be products that are definitely not the place in our with you refrigerators.
European and American researchers now and then regularly make lists of the most harmful products from supermarkets. As a rule, they mention meat semi-finished products, which contain too much sodium, unhealthy fats, preservatives and so-called empty calories, stuffed with "chemistry" sauces, full of sugars and E-additives, pastries, as well as drinks with dyes. In our stores, all this is also not uncommon, but the list of dangerous food from domestic supermarkets is by no means limited to these products. In our stores, under the guise of fresh goods, it is easy to buy even something that should have been trash for a long time.
Food prepared from supermarkets: rescue or danger
Probably, many of us either themselves often buy ready-made food in the grocery and culinary departments of supermarkets, or they know people who at least occasionally eat ready-made, purchased dishes. This practice is widespread throughout the world.
Ready food on the shelves of food stores actually appeared because it was in demand. In addition, such products (provided that they are fresh, prepared according to the rules, with observance of sanitary standards) have a lot of advantages.
Pros from buying ready-made food:
- saving time on cooking, which is important for busy people;
- the ability to eat delicious dishes, not being able or not being able to cook on their own;
- menu variety: in supermarkets, the choice of ready-made food, as a rule, is always quite rich;
- saving money: cooked meals alone do not always cost less than purchased ones, and besides, many supermarkets practice substantial discounts on ready meals at certain hours;
- portionality: the ability to buy exactly as much as necessary for lunch or dinner;
- You can create an individual menu for each family member;
- convenient option for lunch at work or meals on a business trip.
But despite all the advantages of buying food, many consumers categorically refuse to buy ready-made dishes, arguing their position with a few, but very significant disadvantages of such a service. Firstly, buying food in a store, it is difficult to predict what the dish was made from: how much fresh food was used in it, what quality meat, fish or vegetables were used for, and what the sauce was made from. Secondly, it always remains a mystery to the buyer who and in what conditions prepared the dish. For example, buying such food, we will never know if dishes and food are washed well before cooking, how often they change frying oil, and finally how tidy and healthy was the person who prepared the food for sale.
Thirdly, doubts may arise about the freshness of the food sold. Not everyone will be able to distinguish by eye today's stew from the preheated yesterday. Moreover, culinary workers, as a rule, know a lot of secrets how to “reanimate” yesterday's food and make it look freshly prepared.
The degree of danger from the consumption of ready-made food completely depends on how much the store values its name. It is widely believed that it is safer to buy ready-made food in large supermarkets than in small shops near the house. Meanwhile, the scandals associated with various trading networks, which continually pop up every now and then, make it possible to doubt the validity of such a judgment.
What products are best avoided
Often, after viewing news and journalistic investigations about the quality of goods sold in some retail chains, the desire to buy products in stores disappears. Of course, it is impossible to completely abandon purchases of food products, but there are still ways to protect yourself and your relatives. To do this, you need to know what is possible and what cannot be bought in supermarkets.
Domestic experts have long called the list of the most dangerous products in the supermarket, which is better never to buy. It:
- ready salads;
- meat and cheese cutting;
- minced meat;
- grilled chickens;
- smoked fish and poultry;
- shop cooking;
- pastries, sweets and other products packed by the store;
- cakes and desserts with cream.
And this food is on the list of the most dangerous products from the supermarket for a number of reasons, which will be discussed further. Did you know that buying most ready-made meals at any supermarket is a kind of lottery, because there is almost always a risk of poisoning. The fact is that in most cases in retail outlets they do not adhere to the officially established periods of storage of ready-made food, because it is financially unprofitable. Of the number of cold appetizers, pastes, fish products, aspic meat dishes, aspic, and salads most quickly deteriorate. By the way, according to professional chefs, the majority of ready-made salads can be stored no more than 30 minutes, and hot dishes up to 2 hours. True, supermarkets adhere to completely different standards. Officially allowed storage time limits for culinary products are 12-48 hours (depending on the type of product). Quite a short shelf life in fried fish and meat, boiled cauliflower and other vegetables after heat treatment. Dishes in sauce are stored a little longer than dry ones, but there is some danger in it: in supermarkets, sauce is often masked with stale food. The longest stores can sell smoked poultry - up to 72 hours. Among the desserts are the least resistant to storage products with fatty creams, whipped cream, mousses, jelly.
Meanwhile, in practice, these norms are not always adhered to. Salads, for example, can show off behind a glass showcase to the victorious, that is, until they get an unpleasant smell. By the way, at the first time after the expiration of an acceptable shelf life they can still remain quite tasty, although already dangerous for consumption (especially for small children), because no one has canceled chemical processes and the multiplication of bacteria in food. After tasting expired food, you can long be poisoned in the hospital.
What are dangerous products purchased for the action?
On the eve of holidays in many stores delight customers with different promotions and discounts. And food departments with shares like "three for the price of two" or "buy one, and the second - for free" are also carried out during the inter-holiday periods. "Why do they need it?" - Some naive buyers are surprised and quickly fill their baskets with promotional products. And, as a rule, make a huge mistake. As experts explain, thanks to such actions, shops usually get rid of what is long overdue. Under the stock does not fall on the goods, which on ordinary days quickly sweep from the shelves.
Food market researchers regularly confirm the facts that non-waste production is well established in our supermarkets. That is, the main task of the store is to sell all the goods at any price. Thus, the concept of "resuscitation" of spoiled products was born, which then became promotional.
How in the supermarkets reanimate the spoiled products
There are many ways to reintroduce illusory freshness to products. And some types of food are amenable to "reanimation" easier than others. These are sausages, ready-to-cook foods, smoked fish, caviar, cooking, pastries, sweets, drinks. By the way, store cooking is often the last resort of the majority of illiquid goods. At best, second-rate products go to work, at worst - with a long expired date.
Rewriting expiration date
The “reanimation” of an expired product is to give it a new life in any way and extend its shelf life. The easiest way to do this is by banal sticking a sticker with the date of production (often just on top of the factory one). In this way, cookies, sweets, drinks and cosmetics are usually rejuvenated. As a rule, before the holidays, gift sets are made of such goods, packed in bright beautiful wrappers (so that the production dates are not visible), decorated with large bows and sold "at a very reasonable price."
The date of manufacture of processed cheese, sauces, sour cream, milk and many other products is “corrected” with acetone or cologne. Some products remain without an expiration date and inattentive buyers do not even notice it. On others, deft sellers stamp new numbers. Such a trick usually takes place with hermetically packaged goods and products, the appearance of which has not yet given its "old age". By the way, you need to be very careful with goods of foreign manufacture. Sometimes, in supermarkets, stickers are stuck on the packaging with a translation, on which, oddly enough, the shelf life is different from the factory one.
In order not to fall into the spoiled one, it is worthwhile to carefully examine the product label: it must clearly show the production date and storage periods specified by the manufacturer directly on the original packaging.
Culinary masterpieces of ... waste
The main risks of buying food are usually associated with shopping. To be more precise, with the quality of ingredients, methods of preparation and methods of storage of ready meals. The facts of using expired products have already surfaced more than once, when their suspicious taste and smell were masked with lots of spices and sauces, and fried chicken fillet with an appetizing crust of breadcrumbs inside turned out to be a piece of spoiled meat.
By the way, if the officially allowed shelf life of fried foods has expired, then they can be reheated and re-displayed as fresh. Dried patties are also heated and generously decorated with sauce and greens, and then offered to us as "fresh from the pan".
When is supermarket a bath day?
Do you know what they do with an old, slime-covered product? When the signs of old age are not very noticeable, the products are simply rubbed with rags soaked in vegetable oil. If it is impossible to revive the goods in this way, the food is sent to a bath with a special solution that eliminates mucus and the smell of rotten. After that, the product looks like new, but poisons like a real poison.
Spoiled, moldy sausages, thoroughly washed with various detergents, then smeared with vegetable oil for shine and sent back for sale. If you don’t return the marketable sausage by this method, it doesn’t matter, because there is another way of "reanimation" - cutting. The main thing is to carefully chop the sausage, fold it into a tray, pack it with a film and stick a sticker on top of it, on which, of course, indicate the date of sausage packing, thereby turning the spoiled product into a fresh snack. The same tricks are used with smoked fish and cheese. If the cheese already looks so bad that it is not suitable for cutting, then it is used to make chips, which are then sold as an additive to pizza or hot sandwiches. That is why experts strongly recommend not to buy sliced products in supermarkets.
All that which is already impossible to sell even the most naive and least picky buyers usually goes to salted shop production salads. Overwhelmingly, the ingredients of salads are stale foods, often quite rotten. Even more dangerous is that overdue conservation and salinity (mushrooms, corn, peas, salted vegetables, herring) are often added to vegetable snacks, which can cause severe poisoning and botulism.
Even if the salad was originally prepared from fresh vegetables, then after the expiration of the shelf life it is also “revived”. The secret is very simple: weathered vegetables fill up with opaque sauces that hide the tired kind of ingredients and mask their taste. By the way, many networks use their own sauces for dressing. And this is another opportunity to "write off" stale.
The sanitary life of an Olivier is no more than 12 hours, but in some supermarkets, many people may sell their favorite salad for 3 days. At the initial stage of resuscitation, vinegar and more greens can add to the dish. If the "antiquity" of the dish becomes visible externally, it is simply thrown back in a colander and ... washed under running water. Then add a fresh portion of the sauce and, voila - we have a fresh, freshly prepared salad with a new cooking date.
Caviar with manganese
If someone thinks that overdue caviar can not be "revive", then it is very mistaken. After the holidays, the banks of red caviar rested after reanimation with the help of ... potassium permanganate. To do this, open the banks, dump the contents into a common container and rinse the caviar with a solution of potassium permanganate. Then the product is packaged in plastic containers - and on the counter. In order not to poison the delicacy, experts advise never to buy caviar in store packaging. Only in company banks, which indicate the manufacturer's data and the date of issue.
Spoiled fish is one of the most dangerous products for humans. But the owners of supermarkets do not stop this fact and they easily slip us carrion under the guise of a fresh product. And they do it like this. If a fish dies in an aquarium, it is not thrown away, but fished out of a vessel, cleaned and first put up for sale as chilled, and then frozen or allowed into semi-finished products.
But even if you buy live fish from an aquarium, you can also become a victim of fraud. Nimble businessmen do not specifically saturate the aquarium with the necessary amount of oxygen. In such conditions, the fish carcass stretches the water and due to this increases its weight sometimes even by 30 percent. Thus, the buyer pays the extra for regular water. Something similar happens with frozen seafood. In supermarkets, they are often deliberately defrosted and frozen several times to “build up” a thick ice crust. The result is the same: buy a product and pay for ice.
Mixing fresh and yesterday
Another common trick store chefs - mixing fresh produce with yesterday's leftovers. This trick works great with side dishes and salads. Outwardly, such dishes, as a rule, look very appetizing, meanwhile in them the fermentation processes are rapidly proceeding and the bacteria causing poisoning multiply.
Tricks with chicken
If fresh chicken is not sold either yesterday or today, then, most likely, tomorrow it will return to the counter of the same store, but already in the form of grilled and generously seasoned spices. Not sold in this form? Then she has another chance to become minced meat and, in the company of fragrant spices, get into pies, pancakes, cutlets and even pilaf.
The stacked "fresh" chicken can continue its life in a different way - in the form of an ingredient of one of the salads prepared in the store cooking.To get rid of the unpleasant smell of old meat, it is simply boiled in water with onions and spices.
Smoked meats? No, don't!
Another great way to mask the staleness of poultry, meat or fish is smoking. The smell of smoke and skillfully selected mix of spices interrupts not only a suspicious odor, but also the taste of an old product. In addition, do not think that the old products for "rebirth" fall into this smokehouse. In stores, they are “smoked” in a cheaper, faster and more accessible way - with the help of “chemistry”. The spoiled meat and fish are simply poured with a special solution that gives the food its characteristic golden color and smoke flavor. Doctors have been talking about the dangers of such mixtures for “smoking” for quite some time, but there are still some brave souls who are ready to buy fake smoked meats, stuffed with chemicals, which can cause botulism and other deadly diseases.
Self-made minced meat is an ideal way for supermarkets to realize everything that is not sold in one piece. At best, skins, small bones and many other parts will fall into the company of juicy fresh meat. At worst, everything that failed to sell earlier will go to mince, and for which there are no other “resuscitation” methods. Perhaps the dangers of such food for a long time do not need to tell.
How many baking lives?
Not better with baking. The first violations can be at the stage of kneading dough - if the supermarket has its own bakery. Naked eggs and not the first freshness of eggs can be used, old or accidentally spilled flour on the floor, expired nuts, dried fruits and seeds.
If fragrant crispy buns did not find their buyer on the day of baking, then this is not a guarantee that they will be written off and sent to the garbage. The product usually expects a different fate: stale pastries can simply grind and make from it, for example, the well-known cake "Potato".
You should also buy cakes with caution: the production date on the packaging in supermarkets can be changed several times before the goods are sold. The danger of an expired cake is that the cream deteriorates very quickly and can cause severe poisoning. By the way, cookies, sold by weight, also live in the store more than one life. Often baking is repacked monthly, each time indicating a new date of manufacture on the packaging.
Stale bread also nobody throws. It goes either to breadcrumbs, or fresh products are baked from it. For this, old loaves are soaked in water and added to fresh dough. If the bread you bought suspiciously quickly grows stale and crumbles badly, then, most likely, you are “lucky enough” to purchase just such baked goods.
Ways to guard against substandard products
Buy food only in stores with impeccable reputation
This is a universal and main rule. It is safer to buy quickly perishable products in retail chains, where strict quality control of goods is observed, as well as where there is always a brisk flow of customers (due to this, the goods do not have time to lie on the shelves).
Pay attention to the storage conditions of the goods.
According to sanitary standards, different types of finished products should be stored in different temperature regimes, that is, in different display cases. For example, dishes with creams are kept at temperatures up to 6 degrees Celsius, chilled fish and meat in conditions up to +2.
If the supermarket sells sushi or rolls, then they should not be raw fish - only salted or smoked. Categorically it is not necessary to buy a delicacy if it is not packaged in a branded packaging with an indication of the manufacturer, date and time of production, as well as the period of storage. By the way, such food should be stored at a temperature of 2 to 6 degrees Celsius for 6-72 hours (depending on the type). How to check the temperature in the window? Very simple. According to the rules, it must be a thermometer, besides it is placed so that the buyer could see his performance.
Check expiration date
Near each tray with a ready dish should be a card with information about the manufacturer, the date and time of cooking, as well as the deadline for its sale. Dishes from crushed ingredients can be stored in the display window for up to 12 hours, chilled fish and meat - up to 24. But if there is no information card near the container, then the use of such food can be hazardous to health. Another nuance that is important to remember when checking the shelf life of store cooking: the more preservatives in food, the longer it is stored. At best, manufacturers can extend the time of freshness of food due to spices and salt, at worst - with the help of synthetic E-additives.
Frozen semi-finished products should be stored only in freezers at a temperature of from 0 to minus 20 degrees. But when deciding to buy frozen food, it should be remembered that the warmer in the freezer, the faster the food spoils, but at the same time, the colder - the worse the taste and the less useful properties remain in the product.
Do not hesitate to ask for a document confirming the quality of the goods.
At the request of the buyer, the seller must present a document confirming the freshness of the product: a declaration of conformity and a waybill (it must contain the date and time of production, the storage period). Some manufacturers on the packaging of products indicate only the date of packaging, but do not mention in a word about the time of manufacture of the product itself. According to the law "On Protection of Consumer Rights" this is a gross violation. The absence of this information on the packaging can be regarded as evidence of a product failure.
A spoiled product can always be returned
Article 18 of the Law "On Protection of Consumer Rights" guarantees customers the right to complain to a store that sells low-quality goods. The client has the right to demand that low-quality products be removed from the shelves and reimburse him for the value of the expired goods. By the way, in many stores they cunningly warn buyers, they say, the promotional item is not subject to return or exchange. In reality, such statements are illegal.
Everyone sometimes has a state or circumstances like this, when there is no strength, desire or time to cook. Then the favorite supermarket with its large assortment of ready-made food comes to the rescue. But at times such impulses end in very disastrous consequences.
Of course, one cannot categorically declare that products from this group in all supermarkets are necessarily overdue, that products packaged by the store must undergo a “reanimation”. However, it is better to remember the advice of experts and, going once again to the shops, be very vigilant and not make impulsive purchases, no matter how tempting they may seem.