The many shades of pink food
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012 00:04
Whenever people think about the color pink, food rarely crosses their minds. However, it is amazing how many different types of pink-colored food we consume on a daily basis without even noticing. From the sweet and comforting candy and cake, to the healthy alternatives such as guava, lychee and grapefruit, there are so many pink options to choose. Pink food has even been presented as a source of controversy, as shown with the ammonia-treated beef used widely in the country, infamously known as the “pink slime.”
Pink fruits contain lycopene, ellagic acid and other important elements for the body. When enough of these valuable nutrients are consumed, they can assist the immune system in fighting cancer and reducing tumor growth. We may all be familiar with the grapefruits offered during breakfast in most of the dining halls, but there is much more to these pink oversized oranges. Grapefruits are usually eaten with a specialized spoon and contain a full range of vitamins, with only 0.12g of total fat. An interesting theory is that a grapefruit diet can aid in burning away fat because of the enzymes contained in the fruit, but this claim has yet to be scientifically proven.
Having a sweet tooth, I would personally prefer pink sweets and cakes. Pink icing can dress a dessert with an inviting look, like iced donuts and vanilla cakes. I am sure that no one’s amusement park trip is complete without a big serving of pink cotton candy. Sweet things can also be incorporated into healthy snacks, such as a big glass of strawberry milk or raspberry jam on toast. Pink strawberry cupcakes, with bright pink icing and strawberry on top, always put a smile on my face.
However, some pink food can also be quite harmful for the body. Discovered about a month ago, ammonia-treated beef, also known as the pink slime, shocked the community with its production and usage. People were unaware that this meat product was approved nearly 40 years and is practically used in all types of foods. Used as a filter for ground beef, pink slime is made from the fatty trimmings of beef that have a higher risk of being contaminated. They are then sprayed with ammonium hydroxide, which is commonly used as cleaning products, to remove bacteria. This “finely textured beef” created an uproar and initiated increased awareness of ingredients in food amongst the public.
Some officials point out that ammonia has been frequently used in yeast to make bread.
“Ammonia’s not an unusual product to find added to food,” Gary Acuff, director of Texas A&M University’s Center for Food Safety, told a press conference hosted by Beef Products Inc. “We use ammonia in all kinds of foods in the food industry.”
It is used in processes such as milk curdling when making cheese and controlling acidity in chocolate. There are different compounds of ammonia used in the food industry that can help with the production process without leaving any ammonia in the food. These facts may alleviate some worry, but it has been observed that ammonium hydroxide is difficult to spot in the ingredients list as it is considered a “processing aid.” Therefore it is important to be aware of the types of food consumed and that it be done in moderation.