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VIDEO OF THE DAY: What’s In A U.S. High School’s Burgers?
April 12, 2012
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We all know what's in a beef burger, right? Beef, obviously. Maybe some egg and bread crumbs to bind it together. That's pretty much all you need. But as this video from NPR's 'Tiny Desk Kitchen' reveals, some burgers contain a lot more than that. In fact, the burgers that are served at the school lunch counter in Fairfax County, Virginia schools contain 26 ingredients.

The first ingredient is, indeed, beef. But things get a little surprising from there. Like a blue "micronutrient" called copper gluconate, or a bright pink chemical compound called cyanocobalamin. Or the two sweeteners, sucrose and maltodextrin, that are added. Or disodium inosinate, which is an MSG-like additive.

It's a fascinating look at the difficult-to-pronounce ingredients that go into many of the processed foods that are for sale at lunch counters and in grocery aisles everywhere.

In Canada, meanwhile, there is no national school meal program - we are the only G8 country without one. There are nutritional guidelines in place, but there is no significant public information about whether schools are complying or not. According to a recent article in The Tyee, "anecdotal evidence, at least, suggests that they're not". And a 2007 report card from the Centre for Science in the Public Interest found "weak nutrition standards that permit the sale of nutrient-poor food" in Canadian schools.

So while it's hard to know whether a particular Canadian school is serving burgers with 26 ingredients in them, it is certainly possible.

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