October 1, 2008 4:53 PM

Is that really 100%?

For my microbial biology major, I'm taking Techniques in Light Microscopy, which is an upper division elective PMB course. There's one hour of lab each week where we get to use different microscopy techniques to look at everyday items. For example, today we practiced polarized light microscopy (PLM) and looked at corn starch, cellulose, and sand. Then, we looked at Safeway's 100% Parmesan Cheese. It was definitely not 100% cheese. Using the microscope, we saw that it was more like 30% cheese. What's the other 70%? Starch and cellulose. The ingredients list on the parmesan shaker does list cellulose, but does not mention starch. What if you were allergic to corn starch?

Now we know that you're paying for 30% cheese and 70% starch and cellulose. You can't really sue Safeway on the claim that using microscopy you found that it wasn't 100% cheese. I'm pretty sure the FDA has certain guidelines to what can be considered "100%." For example, I think for something to be considered "trans fat free," it only has to contain less than 0.5 g of trans fat.

After we found out that the cheese wasn't 100% cheese, we started wondering about other "fat free" and "nonfat" products. Is fat free milk really fat free? How can half and half be nonfat?

On a side note, we found that Dasani bottled water is full of living and dead bacteria. However, the surface of your tongue has by far the most bacteria. So I guess you don't have to worry about ingesting more bacteria? Besides, you can build up your immune system by exposing yourself to all these types of bacteria.

Anyways, good luck on midterms, everyone!!

Victoria Eng | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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