What's in your food? - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

What's in your food?

If food safety is top of mind while eating at a restaurant, there's another realm of the food business most consumers don't even know exists.

"I don't know if everyone understands what goes into food standards," explains Eric Duggan, owner of Eastside Grille.

 Not only is Duggan responsible for getting meals out to the hungry masses, he holds the key to purchasing power.  Duggan can determine if it's profitable to shell out the extra cash for higher grades of food.

"We chose an Angus beef, with 80% lean beef, and 20% fat."

Most food brokers give restaurants the option of purchasing certain grades of beef.  "Select" being lowest grade, "choice" the mid-grade and "prime", the highest grade, giving owners the option of choosing quantity over quality.

Duggan adds, "Sometimes when restaurants are forced to make cutbacks, they cut quality to decrease the price.  Right now, we just take the innovative approach, roll up our sleeves and work harder."

For a commercial product to be labeled as "beef", the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service says the product cannot contain more than 30% fat, additional water, phosphates, binders or extenders.

A customer dining in Eastside Grille told WSFA 12 News, "I go in, order, eat and leave.  We never really think about what we're eating."

If ignorance is bliss, Duggan says seafood is one food product worth inquiring about before placing an order.  The question to ask, "Is it foreign or domestic"?

"Seafood is drastically cheaper if it's foreign. The domestic quality is different than the foreign quality."

Food brokers tell WSFA 12 News, if a consumer if concerned about eating a commercial product, they should read the label.  All ingredients are listed in order of prominence. 

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