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Crazy things that happen to your food before you buy it

Here are a few things from a list found at MSN:

Salmon is made pinker

The salmon you see at the fish counter almost always sports a bright pinkish-orange hue, but in fact, salmon is naturally a greyer shade. The swimmers take on their classic coloring in one of two ways: wild-caught salmon eat krill, while farm-raised salmon are fed pigment pellets. But don't let that stop you from buying farmed fish. Though wild-caught salmon is technically better for you than farmed—it naturally contains half the fat, and is slightly higher in zinc, iron, and potassium—it's three to four times pricier. "Whether farm-raised or wild, there are so many benefits of eating salmon, namely its rich source of omega 3 fatty acids that we don't get enough of," says Blake. Buy whatever is on sale and aim for two servings of fatty fish a week.

Some oranges are dyed

Believe it or not, the dye Citrus Red No. 2 is sprayed on some Florida oranges early in the season to brighten their coloring. These oranges are usually used for juicing, but some end up on grocery store shelves. The dye is FDA-approved and used in small concentrations, but the Center for Science in the Public Interest warns this dye is related to health risks, including cancer, in lab animals. (It's not allowed to be used on California oranges.) Bags of these oranges need to include a label that says color has been added. The dye still isn't meant for eating, so don't make candied orange peel or zest them for cooking.

Olive oil may be mixed with a cheaper variety

Extra virgin olive oil has come under fire for not actually being olive oil. Many bottles are mixed with cheaper oils like soybean or canola, according to Consumer Reports, and shipped to the United States where you pay a premium price. In addition to wasting your money, you're also losing out on the heart-health perks of the monounsaturated fats you'd find in pure olive oil, says Cohn.

Chicken is given a bath

The journey a chicken takes from the farm to your kitchen table is not pretty. After slaughter, warm chickens need to be cooled down, so they're placed in a big tank of cold water and a sanitizer, like chlorine, to control harmful bacteria and contamination, explains Don Schaffner, PhD, of the department of food science at Rutgers University. The FDA and USDA say this process is safe, Schaffner says, but you can avoid chickens that have been treated this way by choosing air-chilled poultry.

One not-so-healthy thing some manufacturers do to your chicken: inject saltwater into raw meat to enhance its flavor. Considering most Americans consume far more sodium than they should, you'll want to read nutrition labels carefully—unaltered chicken contains 40 to 70 milligrams of sodium per 4-ounce serving, while injected chickens pack in 300 milligrams or more.

Meat gets checked for antibiotics and hormones

You might be swayed to buy meat that's labeled "antibiotic free," but the truth is, "technically, all meat must be free of all traces of antibiotics before it's sold," says Cohn. Translation: "antibiotic free" is mostly a marketing ploy, and doesn't guarantee that the meat wasn't raised without antibiotics. Similarly, you might see the label on chicken or pork that says "hormone free." Again, it's a marketing tactic given hormones are not allowed to be used on these two animals anyway. Look for terms like "raised without antibiotics" and "raised without added hormones."

Almonds are pasteurized

Along with milk, bottled juice, and canned goods, almonds are pasteurized in order to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks, and can be achieved by roasting, blanching, steam treating, or spraying with a Propylene Oxide Treatment (PPO). You should know that PPO is considered safe by the EPA, but is also sometimes added to engine oil or used to make mattress foam—something you probably didn't bargain for when you sat down for a nutty snack. If you want to avoid PPO, look for brands that say they've been "steam pasteurized" or dry roasted.

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