www.whyville.net Jul 25, 2002 Weekly Issue

Bacteria & Acid, Important Stuff

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Bacteria & Acid, Important Stuff

Guest Writer

In the July 11th issue of the Times, Sonner talked about the ingredients in Kraft Dinner and he noticed that the cheese sauce contains bacterial cultures and citric acid. I know they sound like something that shouldn't be in your food, but don't worry, they're good for you.

First, I'll discuss the importance of bacterial cultures. Bacterial cultures are used in fermented dairy foods because it is believed that the good bacteria in the cultures will overpower harmful bacteria which could be in the food or in your body. They are also used to improve people's health; for example, they relieve lactose intolerance, stimulate your immune system, and prevent cancer. Since cancer runs in my family, bacterial cultures are something I definitely want in my food.

Also, we need bacteria in us because it helps us digest some of the food we eat. If bacterial cultures weren't in our food, sour cream would be runny and it wouldn't taste sour, cheese would have a different texture (think runny cheese... ew!!) and it'd taste different, buttermilk wouldn't exist, sourdough bread wouldn't be sour, and I'm sure the cheese sauce in Kraft Dinner would be a lot different.

Ok, now I'll talk about citric acid. Citric acid helps us digest some of the chemicals in our bodies. It also gives food a tangy flavour and it masks bad flavours in some food. The reason I think citric acid is in Kraft Dinner is that citric acid is formed by fermentation. Now, all of you biology whizzes out there(like me ^_^) know that there are tons of different kinds of fermentations that happen. I don't know if the kind of fermentation that makes citric acid happened in the cheese sauce, but it might have.

I hope that this answers some questions some of you have been asking, and remember, just because you see the word "bacteria" in the ingredients doesn't mean that your food will make you sick! Also, your food doesn't always contain everything that's on the ingredients list.

Oh, and while we're talking about the ingredients in our food, here's something I wanna know... one day, I was helping my mom grocery shop and I was reading the ingredients on this can of something to do with seafood. One of the ingredients was "imitation crab meat". What exactly is imitation crab meat??? A few people I've asked said that it's lobster or fish... so if it really is lobster or fish, why do they call it imitation crab meat? Why not lobster or fish or whatever else it actually is?

Well, there's something for you to think about until someone finally finds out the answer.

I'm off to eat some Kraft Dinner (okay, not really)...

This is rainbow15. Bye, and have fun eating bacterial cultures!



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