The 26-Ingredient Burger

Over on scienceblogs, Greg Laden just posted this cool video prodouced by NPR's Allison Aubrey about the 26-ingredient burgers that are served in many school cafeterias. 

In Fairfax County, VA, parents who are scared of the long list on unpronounceable ingredients are trying to get rid of this burger and other foods like it. But do we really need to be scared? The following video breaks down the burger ingredient by ingredient with the help of a food scientist, and we learn what purpose each component serves:

In short, the “extras” consist mainly of a lot of vitamins, minerals, and fortifying ingredients, and some flavorings to cover up the fact that those fortifying agents don’t always taste so good. The scientist makes an excellent point around 2:34: in a better world, all children would come to school well-nourished, receiving all of the vitamins and minerals they need from whole foods they eat at home However, this is not our current reality, and foods like these can help for what is missing from a child's diet.

Thank you, NPR, for taking reasoned look at this issue and talking to a scientist, not just concerned parents. Also? That is NOT how I pictured Robert Siegel.

Anne S

Anne Sauer is an atheist with an appetite for science, good food, and making connections between the two. She is currently pursuing her MBA in Sustainable Management at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. Her favorite foods are salted caramel ice cream and chicken tikka masala. You can find her on twitter @aynsavoy.

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One Comment

  1. Interesting. I got to reading labels when I developed anaphylaxis to tree nuts, and I am still confused by what the labels say. Nice to know a lot of these things are vitamins!

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