January 8, 2018

Food Contact Surfaces: Top 10 of 2017!

Food Contact Surfaces Top10When playwright William Shakespeare famously wrote in Twelfth Night ‘If music be the food of love, play on. Give me excess of it; that surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die.’ he certainly had a point. But here at Berkshire, we like to put a different spin on it by declaring ‘If food be the stuff of life, snack on!’ And part of the reason for our foodie obsession is the sheer volume of creative innovation that’s been emerging recently. From deriving food basics from ‘unusual’ sources to drug-infused edibles to lab-grown dinners, we have covered myriad topics in 21st century gastronomy. And you certainly seem to be hungry for more. Here’s what you were reading on Food Contact Surfaces in 2017…

  1. Activated Charcoal – Could This Ingredient Be an Ice Cream Game Changer?

Black Ice Cream cone

Who doesn’t love ice cream? Richly creamy, boldly flavored, and brightly colored, studded with exotic ‘smoosh-ins,’ decorated with generous toppings, and drizzled with chocolate or caramel sauce, there really is no better way of celebrating summer. But the flavors and ingredients of this time-honored snack are changing. When the grocery store shelves are already groaning with alternative milk confections – ice cream from cashew milk is a ‘go-to’ around here! – do ‘ingredients’ normally found in a beach-side fire pit have any place in our cones? Re-visit our top article to review…

  1. Spice Manufacturing: Racking up Contamination Violations

Spices and bottles

The comfort of food is well-known. Huddled in our caves, we first learned the alchemy of cooking over flames (hello, the flambé drama of Bananas Foster!) and came to associate food with security, comfort, and safety. But, as our article on the spice trade demonstrated, we must remain vigilant in safeguarding the purity of even the smallest of ingredients. The presence of lead in the so-called ‘stealth ingredient’ turmeric was a wake up call that, when we’re dealing with public safety, our supply chain must be extremely carefully scrutinized. If you missed it, here’s the link…

  1. How Do You Take Your Coffee – with Wine or Cockroach Milk?


OK, we knew we were onto something interesting when we first learned of the work of academic Dr. Barbara Stay, Professor Emerita at the University of Iowa. Stay is part of a team pioneering milk production from a viviparous breed of our most hated bugs – the cockroach. And if that’s not enough, she’s convinced that it will be widely available to consumers within the next decade. Pour yourself a cup of joe (maybe black?) and re-read this fascinating article…

  1. Food Poisoning – The Wedding Crasher

Weddings – you either love them or hate them. If you’re the bride or groom, it may well be the best day of your life. If you’re the one footing the bill, it might just be the most stressful. But if you’re a guest, it’s a fabulous occasion for celebration and a free dinner, right? But, as we all know, that free meal may give you more than you bargained for. With malevolent attendees such as salmonella or staphylococcus present in the buffet, gastroenteritis might be your take-home gift from the Big Day. Before accepting that next invite to your co-worker’s nuptials, read more about the grim reality of food poisoning at weddings…

  1. Is the World’s Most Expensive Coffee Worth It?

Luwak (civet cat)

Undaunted by the prospect of food poisoning at weddings, you proved yourselves to be braver and more adventurous than we’d ever imagined. Throwing gustatory caution to the wind, you heartily embraced (albeit on the page) the concept of kopi luwac, a coffee crafted from beans passed through the digestive tract of a civet cat. Or an elephant. Need a trip down memory lane? Review the article here…

  1. Leverage the Beverage: How One Adult Drinks Company is Diversifying its Portfolio to Include Cannabis

Close-up of glass with ice and alcohol on a table

Achieving altered consciousness has never been simultaneously so accepted and so fraught with complexity. With cannabis now legal in some states but prohibited under federal law, those seeking to shift their reality to a different plane face old challenges and new innovations. And cannabis-infused beverages are the next Big Thing…

  1. The Impossible Burger – Undercover Report

impossible burger

As a follow-up to an earlier article, our team went undercover to taste test the new Impossible Burger, an all-vegan, non-animal burger patty that’s changing the fast food game. What had us salivating over the grill and what left us reaching for the fries? Review our report to find out…

  1. How Much Do You Know About the New Generation of Cannabis Edibles?

Chocolate truffles with marijuana

Yes, it’s a Schedule 1 narcotic, but it’s also legal in some states for both medical and recreational use. Given the current administration’s volte face on the Obama-era policy that discouraged federal prosecutors from pressing charges against marijuana growers and purveyors, it’s hard to know where users stand. But does a broadening spectrum of high-end cannabis edibles combined with an increased taxable base at the state and local level mean that the future of weed is out of federal hands? Read more here…

  1. How the Black Soldier Fly is Changing How We Process Trash

Soldier fly close up

Socially-impactful, environmentally-sustainable, and economically-lucrative, the small black soldier fly is a fascinating bug. And it’s one that might hold the key to solving one of the most intransigent problems of our throw-away society: trash. Food trash, to be specific. And with households in the U.S. discarding 35 million tons of food per annum, these little winged trash compactors seem to have their work cut out for them…


  1. Update: Tainted Treats – To What Extent Does Honey Represent a Nutritional Friend or Foe?

Bear honey bottle
When it comes to the search for contamination-free foods, a liquid that’s squeezed out of the body of a bee does not – at first blush – seem to be a prime candidate. So that may be why you all enjoyed our original article on plant alternatives to honey, and the follow-up we published in October. Need a taste of something sweet? Head over to read both articles here…

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