What The Government Shutdown Means For Food

It’s no secret that the government shutdown has shaken things up quite a bit over the last week or more, and many might be surprised to hear that the implications of this shutdown stretch all the way into your kitchen. You guessed it – we’re talking about trouble for the food industry.

A recent Salmonella outbreak in chicken has sickened more than 300 people across at least 18 states and, unfortunately, a “skeletal staff”at the CDC is making it slow and arduous to identify the cause and severity of the outbreak. Without the staff necessary to run appropriate tests, our ability to prepare for and warn consumers about major health threats is reduced drastically.

Imported Seafood

With 45% of the FDA’s workers furloughed, the majority of inspections on imported foods including seafood, produce and packaged foods have been suspended. While the FDA normally inspects only about 1-2% of our country’s current import shipments, which is estimated at 12 million per year, with the government shutdown this goes down to nearly 0% and imports won’t be turned away because they won’t be looked at. If you’re interested in what some of those rejected imports are all about click here to see one described as “FILTHY.

So what can you do to protect your family from unsafe foods?

One great way to protect yourself is to avoid “The Ten Riskiest Foods” regulated by the FDA which includes favorites like cheese, tomatoes and some seafood items. Roughly 90% of all shrimp consumed in America is imported from other countries, most of which being Southeast Asian countries that rely heavily on antibiotics and have a less than perfect track record with the FDA. Opt for domestic seafood like those delivered by Passanante’s Home Food Services which are wild caught from the Atlantic or Pacific and exclusive to the U.S. or Canada.

At Passanante’s we are more committed than ever to the quality and safety of our foods. If we wouldn’t put it on our own dinner table, we wouldn’t consider delivering it to your door. If you would like to schedule a time to talk with one of our sales reps about our home food delivery service feel free to give us a call at 1-800-772-7786.

Foods Migraine Sufferers Should Avoid

Migraine Triggers

If you suffer from frequent migraines, the culprit for your discomfort may be chilling in your refrigerator as we speak. There are dozens of causes of migraines and no two headaches are the exact same, although medical research has found that there are a few foods migraine sufferers may try avoiding with hopes of alleviating their symptoms. Check out today’s blog for a few of the top food-related causes for migraine headaches from your friends at Passanante’s Home Food Services. We strive to provide the highest quality foods to our customers and would love the opportunity to plan your next delivery around your personal and health related goals. Give us a call at 1-800-772-7786 to schedule an appointment today.


Foods that contain tyramine, a substance which forms as food ages, are some of the most common causes for migraine headaches. Aged cheeses including bleu cheese, brie, cheddar, feta, gorgonzola, mozzarella, muenster, parmesan, stilton and swiss have high levels of tyramine. In addition to processed cheeses, tyramine is also found in meats that have been aged, cured, canned or processed including hard sausages, canned soups, onions, olives, pickles, raisins, avocados, nuts, and certain beans.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

MSG is a popular flavor enhancer that has been linked to a variety of health risks including headaches, migraines, muscle spasms, nausea, rashes, anaphylaxis, seizures, depression and even heart irregularities. Commonly found in soup broths, Asian cuisine, packaged sausage like Jimmy Dean maple flavor sausage, Doritos, Cheetos and other cheese flavored chips, certain brands of lunch meats and other processed foods, MSG is worth avoiding.


Aspartame is an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and drinks that has been linked to migraines. Sold under the brands Equal and NutraSweet, aspartame is a very common additive as it is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Look out for aspartame in diet sodas, yogurt, gum, drink sweeteners, cooking sauces, flavored water, drink powders, cereal and products which advertised being sugar-free.

The Old Bait N Switch (Seafood Fraud)

Seafood Assortment

Whether you’re planning a fancy date night to the best seafood restaurant in town or planning a trip to the super market to stock up on fresh fish for the week — there are some things you need to know about the seafood industry.

With Americans eating 50% more seafood than they did 50 years ago, it’s no surprise that the seafood industry has become  increasingly difficult to regulate while balancing supply and demand.  Unfortunately, as is the case in many booming industries, some people are looking to make a quick buck off unsuspecting consumers.

Don’t believe it? According to an Oceana representative, “More than 90 percent of the red snapper sold nationally is actually something else—usually [inexpensive] tilapia or rockfish.”

For reference, red salmon sells for as much as $24/lb where as tilapia is closer to $8/lb. Halibut, another commonly swapped fish, is often sold for $25/lb, but is frequently substituted with $14/lb flounder and the customer is none the wiser. This means if you eat fish once a week, you might end up overspending by $500 or more per year!

Your wallet isn’t the only victim here.  With this much exploitation in the market, poaching and illegal fishing practices are flourishing. As consumers we lose our ability to make decisions about what goes in our bodies and what stays out. How can consumers evaluate the risks of mercury or other toxins in our fish when we don’t even know what species we’re ordering?

So how can you avoid the old bait and switch? 

1. Stick to the safer options. According to Oceana, in restaurants, mahimahi, flounder and tilapia were least likely to be mislabeled.

2. Ask plenty of questions. Some grocery stores and restaurants including Whole Foods provide information about the source of the seafood via companies like Trace Register and Trace and Trust. Check out www.traceandtrust.com to find local restaurants who participate.

3. Buy from sources you trust. All Passanante’s Home Food Service products come with a product guarantee and you can always rest easy knowing exactly what you’re eating.

We hope you’ll give Passanante’s an opportunity to put your mind at ease and stock your home with a beautiful assortment of fresh seafood including Lobster, Mahi Mahi, and even Swordfish! For more information please fill out our contact form.

Happy Eating!

U.S. Chicken Plants to Increase Chemicals

Poultry Plant

In an unfortunate turn of events, the USDA is expected to approve a number of new regulations for the United States poultry plant industry as early as this summer. In an effort to keep up with the ever increasing demand for chicken and turkey, the new rules would allow for a 25% increase in poultry line speeds — that’s an increase of 140 to 175 chickens, and 45 to 55 turkeys per hour.

Well, that doesn’t sound so bad, right? Unfortunately — wrong.

With the birds moving down the line at such an increased rate, the ability of workers to spot contaminants including fecal matter would be greatly reduced. With the current regulations, when a bird is identified as contaminated it is removed from the line for manual inspection and a cleaning process which involves dousing the poultry with antimicrobial chemicals. With the new regulations, such slow and manual processes would defeat the purpose of the increase rate. The solution? No birds would leave the line, and to prevent massive contamination issues ALL birds would be dosed with large amounts of antimicrobial chemicals.

According to federal officials as reported by The Washington Post, “the problem is government agencies have not conducted independent research into the possible side effects on consumers of using the chemicals. Instead, they review data provided by chemical manufacturers.” But, these are the same chemicals which have been identified by poultry plant workers as catalysts for major respiratory complications, asthma, burns, rashes, sinus ulcers, and even death.

Thankfully, the poultry delivered directly to your home from Passanante’s Home Food Services is not the same poultry whizzing down the conductor belts in these plants across the country. We pride ourselves on being a credible food delivery service who provides fresh, clean and natural grade A poultry. None of our products are CAFO raised or mass produced. All of our poultry is raised on local farms in Maryland and Pennsylvania on a natural, seed based diet — free of hormones and antibiotics.

At Passanante’s we’re serious about the quality of foods we provide to our customers, we even guarantee it. If you’re interested in speaking to someone at Passanante’s feel free to give us a call at 800-772-7786.

What’s In Your Burger?

Hamburger Meat

The recent reports of Burger King selling Whoppers contaminated with horse meat in the U.K. has got everyone’s stomach churching, but with Oklahoma’s recent push to reopen horse slaughterhouses this problem may not be as far away from home as we’d like to think.

Since the closing of U.S. horse slaughterhouses in 2007, rural lawmakers have been lobbying to lift the ban on selling and producing horse meat, which has been in effect in Oklahoma since 1963. Why? The argument is simple, as a result of extreme drought the U.S. cattle herd is the smallest its been in six decades and for states like Oklahoma which depend on the cattle industry this is bad news. With the knowledge that over 140,000 horses are shipped from the U.S. to Mexico and Canada for slaughter to be sold in Japan and the European Union, coupled with the 45,000 mustangs being kept in long-term pins in Oklahoma at the expense of taxpayers, state Senator Mark Allen among others sees this as an opportunity to capitalize on an increasingly popular trade.

So what does this have to do with you? If you’re a burger-lover the answer is a lot.  U.S. horses are some of the most highly medicated in the world and are frequently treated with drugs banned by the FDA for use in any food animals. An example of one of these drugs is known human carcinogen, Phenylbutazone.

The average burger is composed of a mixture of various edible scraps of meat from multiple cows, from multiple plants, and even from multiple countries combined with some additional fat and additives for flavor. Unfortunately for people who aren’t interested in eat horse meat in their burgers, this production process is not without it’s flaws which explains how horse meat found it’s way into Burger King’s Whoppers.

Luckily for all of the Passanante’s food delivery customers, the passing of the Oklahoma bill will not in any way impact the burgers you enjoy, but the same cannot be said for our friends who still depend on large corporate meat companies for their favorite foods. Passanante’s Home Food Service prides itself on delivering the highest quality organic veggies and meats and we look forward to continuing to impress you and your family with our 100% product guarantee.