Thursday, December 31, 2015

Costco contradictions: Black truffles from Italy, toothpaste with 'deicer'

Imported from Italy, a Sabatino Tartufi Duo -- Whole Black Summer Truffles and Truffle Sea Salt -- was $19.99 at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro on Wednesday.

Also at Costco, Colgate Optic White Toothpaste contains propylene glycol, "an additive that is generally recognized as safe for use in food," according to a 1997 statement from federal regulators.


Costco Wholesale continues to offer more gourmet and organic food, including the imported Sabatino Black Truffle Duo I picked up on Wednesday afternoon.

But the quality of other items sold at the warehouse store often is poor or questionable, such as Colgate Optic White Toothpaste we bought and then returned for a full refund.

That was after I noticed a major ingredient is propylene glycol.

It's a synthetic liquid that is used "to make polyester compounds, and as a base for deicing solutions," according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry.

See: Public Health Statement for Propylene Glycol

We returned the unused portion of Colgate Optic White Toothpaste for a full refund. Other ingredients include sodium saccharin and sucralose, two sweeteners.

In the same refrigerated case at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro, you can find antibiotic-free Coleman Organic Chicken Wings ($2.99 a pound), above, and Perdue Whole Cornish Hen ($1.99 a pound), below. The latter are raised with harmful antibiotics. 

The Cornish Hen is labeled "hatched, raised and harvested in USA."

The parking lot and store were packed on Wednesday afternoon, the day before New Year's Eve.

More checkout lanes

Although the parking lot and warehouse were packed, I had only a short wait behind two other customers to check out.

The larger Teterboro store appears to have more checkout lanes going at one time than the old Hackensack warehouse.

And on this, my third or fourth visit to the new Teterboro warehouse, I saved energy by walking through every aisle, picking up items on my list, rather than hunting for each item individually.

Two other gourmet items I purchased on Wednesday are refrigerated Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto ($7.99), and a wedge of aged Kirkland Signature Parmigiano Reggiano ($8.49 a pound), often called the "King of Cheeses."

The pesto is made with imported Genovese basil, and the cheese is made the same way it has been for centuries in Italy, where it was cut from a full wheel.

Organic Bananas were only $1.99 for 3 pounds. Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix, a weekly staple, was $4.49 for a 1-pound tub.

A 3-pound bag of peeled Christopher Ranch California Garlic was $7.39.

A 2-liter bottle of Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, packed in Italy, was $14.99 or about $7.50 per liter.

The bottle contains a blend of oils from Italy, Spain, Greece, Tunisia and Portugal.

An inch-thick Mahi-Mahi Fillet with Roasted Peppers and a Vegetable-Stuffed Portobello Mushroom from Jerry's Gourmet & More in Englewood.

Fish, wine, salads

My reward for braving the crowds at Costco was enjoying a glass of red wine with another restaurant-quality takeout dinner from Jerry's Gourmet & More, 410 S. Dean St., Englewood.

I also found the auxiliary parking lot at Jerry's much easier to get into and out of than the larger one.

Besides three dinners, I picked up more Mild Provolone Cheese, on sale for $2.99 a pound.

My Mahi-Mahi Dinner from Jerry's came with a stuffed mushroom and two salads, Beet-Tomato, and Artichoke-Fennel with fresh herbs, above. I gave Chicken Dumplings to another family member. Two other dinners, called Meals To Go, had entrees of Grouper with Roasted Peppers and Chicken Cacciatore, both with pasta, asparagus and roasted sweet potatoes ($7.99 each).

Around 2 Wednesday afternoon, this lot had free spaces while the main lot was overflowing.

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