Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Our First Bristol Farms Experience

St. Patty’s Day is a holiday my wife, friends, and I enjoy celebrating every year - as we are Irish. There is a new Bristol Farms in town and we were walking through the store checking them out, we ended up trying the corn beef they offered as a sample and way to get customers to buy the prepared meals for the Irish holiday. We were sold! We ended up preordering eight meals for our family and some neighbors. When the day came (17th) we went to pick up the meals, they pointed out that there were reheating instructions included (See below).

When we got home and started to take out the containers, we noticed they were plastic and not aluminum, as the instructions mentioned. So I called Bristol Farms. They mentioned they were old instructions and that they were sufficient for the task. So I asked specifically if we should put the plastic containers in the oven. The response was that we could. I asked if we should still put the aluminum foil on the top, they said yes.

Well, as you can see wherever the aluminum foil touched it melted the plastic, not to mention a general meltdown. Fumes, smoke, smell, all contributed to drive our guests outside our condo. Now, I realize that people make mistakes, and apparently these were not the “oven-safe” containers they thought they were giving us. To be fair, Bristol Farm management was very sympathetic and gave us a full refund of the $90. However, I must say a couple of things.

Firstly, I can better understand this mistake if it were made at Ralph’s, or Vons. However, Bristol Farms bills itself as a step above these other grocery chains. For the money, they had better. Secondly, in these economic times where people are cutting back, these types of higher end businesses need to pull customers in like us and try to make us permanent visitors to their business, and thus benefit by us spending our hard-earned money there. Bristol Farms failed our yearly family celebration (on both accounts), a mistake we will not make again, unfortunately for Bristol Farms.

I think, upon further reflection, my family will stick with Whole Foods.

Papa Giorgio

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

More Water Bottle Myths (Imported)

I wrote on this subject quite in-depth as well, plus threw in a fact filed video in a blog entitled, "Urban Legends -- Water Bottles" It is a great blog to read along with this imported article.

Bottled Water Myths
by Angela Logomasini
Issue 127 - March 4, 2009
For the past couple decades, bottled water had been growing in popularity as an environmentally preferred choice and as a healthy beverage alternative. Yet in recent years, environmental activists have begun attacking its value and quality. The activists’ claims do not hold water, yet, based on those claims, they are promoting bans, taxes, and regulations on bottled water—taking the Nanny State to a whole new level. The following analysis counters this “new wisdom,” questioning the justifications for this new assault on consumer freedom.
Some key facts include:
  • Bottled water regulation is at least as stringent as tap water regulation. Under federal law the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must pass bottled water regulations that are “no less stringent” than Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. The law does not allow the FDA to set standards that produce a lower quality product. As a result, FDA regulations mirror EPA regulations very closely and are more stringent in some respects because FDA applies additional food, packaging, and labeling regulations.
  • Bottled water is substantially different from tap. About 75 percent of bottled water is from sources other than municipal systems such as springs or underground sources. Much of the bottled municipal water undergoes additional purification treatments to produce a higher quality product that must meet FDA bottled water quality standards, packaging, and labeling mandates. In terms of safety, tap water has more documented health-related case reports compared to bottled water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends bottled water for individuals with compromised immune systems to reduce the risks associated with tap water.
  • Bottled water containers are a tiny fraction of the solid waste stream. Many people have turned to bottled water to replace other portable drinks containing sugar and calories, producing little increase in total waste. In any case, single-serving plastic water bottles amount to just 0.3 percent of the nation’s solid waste. Bottles used in water coolers are recycled at high rates and have even less impact on landfill waste. Taxing and banning either type of container will not matter much in terms of overall waste.
  • Plastic bottles are safe for consumers. The chemicals which environmental activists suggest are a problem are not even used in the PET plastic used for single-serving water bottles. Bisphenol A, a chemical found in large five-gallon water cooler jugs and other food containers exists at such low trace levels that there have been no reported health problems and the FDA, along with several scientific organizations around the world, have not found any problem with this substance.
The public has freely turned to bottled water as an alternative to drinks with calories, for convenience, freshness, and whatever other reasons they themselves find worthy. Misinformation spread by activists should not determine who can access this product. People who do not like the product can make their own choices. They should not have any right to make them for the rest of us.