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Read. Shop. Buy smart.

How can you tell if the food you are buying is fresh and safe to eat?  This month Consumer Reports (CR) reviews 10 risky foods and offers steps to select and prepare food safely.

The list of risky foods is based on an analysis of data about foods most often recalled.  This doesn’t mean these foods should be avoided; rather be aware of the conditions under which they are processed and properly wash, cook and store them.  Surprisingly leafy greens account for most of the foodborn illness and food recalls.  It is wise to wash leafy greens which will be eaten raw, or peel and discard outer leaves.  Take a look at the handy list of “ingredients you don’t want in your food.” It might be good to bring this along with you to the store.  Finally, the bad news is… baking flour is on the list of risky foods.  It will require a big dose of willpower to resist tasting the cookie dough!

Do you find yourself squinting to read the fine print on food labels?  It might be time for new eyeglasses.  Before buying, read “Get Great Glasses for Way Less.”  CR found that most people buy glasses at the same location where they have their eye exam.  Buying at the doctor’s office is most appropriate for those who have complicated prescriptions where the services of an optician or fitter are needed.  For those who don’t need to buy their glasses at a doctor’s office there are other in-person providers offering eye exams and glasses for less.  CR rates 18 of these common providers based on 7 factors including: quality of frames and lenses, price, customer service, and follow-up.  Those who just need “single-vision glasses with milder levels of correction” may want to shop online where they will pay much less.  In addition, CR provides a good explanation of many optional lens features to consider.

The October Product Update is all about dishwashers and the detergents to use with them.  CR notes common complaints and offers good news about improved machines that correct for these issues.  Look at the handy diagram to load your dishwasher correctly.  Is a rinse aid to help with the drying process and to reduce spotting on glassware necessary?  CR explains how this works and recommends adding it if you have hard water.  Check out these ratings before you buy a new dishwasher or try a new detergent.

Other topics in this issue include:

  • “Steam Out All Your Wrinkles” 

  • “4 Surprising Things Your Phone Can Do”

  • “The Best Steak Knives” 

  • “What Does 100 Calories of Halloween Candy Look Like?”

  • “Our Favorite Sparkling Waters”

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