Editor's note: Today, I discuss the importance of reading ingredients labels, and play lost and found at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
I'm a big reader of ingredients labels, but with products I have been using for years, I usually don't bother to look every time I buy them.
On Tuesday, I felt like preparing fresh fish with a medium-spicy Mexican green salsa or salsa verde, which I also use on omelets and frittatas.
I picked up wild-caught fillets of Icelandic haddock at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack for $8.99 a pound, and, when I got home, cut them into serving pieces.
When I took out a bottle of La Costena Mexican Green Salsa I had in the cupboard, I turned it to read the label to see if a preservative was being used, and was shocked to see monosodium glutumate listed in capital letters.
I've used Mexican Green Salsa from Goya and Herdez, and like La Costena they are made in Mexico.
I've also tried Roasted Salsa Verde sold at Trader Joe's, Target and Whole Foods Market.
None contain MSG, and some are even preservative-free. The main ingredients are tomatillos and jalapeno peppers.
Luckily, I had a bottle of Roasted Salsa Verde from Whole Foods in my cupboard on Tuesday, and used the contents of the 16-ounce bottle and juice from two limes to prepare the meal in only 5 minutes from the time the haddock was placed in the simmering sauce.
If I can find the receipt, I am planning to get a refund for the La Costena green salsa from Hackensack Market, where my wife purchased it.
Truth is, I already inadvertently used a bottle of this La Costena green salsa with MSG (I found it in our recycling bin).
I don't think I suffered any ill effects, and there are Web sites saying that MSG has gotten a bad rap -- that the flavor enhancer isn't to blame for health problems.
But if I can easily find green salsa and other bottled and canned food without MSG, why take a chance?
At ShopRite in Paramus, I saw this good buy on low-sodium Colonna Pasta Sauce, but the ingredients label listed high fructose corn syrup, which is linked to the obesity epidemic, a real turn-off. Many other pasta sauces contain added sugar.