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Edible Glow-in-the-Dark Technology Eludes Us (For Now)

By Mike Breen · October 16th, 2012 · Lost in the Supermarket
ac_supermarket_slimeggsPhoto: Jesse Fox

We can put a man on the moon (R.I.P. Neil Armstrong). Thanks to McDonald’s, we can have “ribs” without the annoyance of rib bones. And if we get really thirsty we can buy half-gallon tubs of Coca-Cola at the nearest KFC or 7-Eleven. (For now!) 

Yet here we sit at the breakfast table, in the year 20-freakin’-12, and we can’t get a special edition of Cap’n Crunch’s Halloween Crunch that actually turns the milk glow-in-the-dark green!

On my recent epic quest for Candy Corn Oreos (“Children of the (Candy) Corn,” issue of Sept. 19), as I scrambled through aisles, rabidly searching for these cookies so I could write about how horrible they are, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. Glowing. Sorta.

It was a special edition of Cap’n Crunch that featured ghost-shaped cereal with so much sugar the colored sugar crystals are visible. The box — tucked next to cousin cereals Boo Berry, Franken Berry and Count Chocula (this, I imagine, is their busy season) — had that familiar green “glow-in-the-dark” coloring. I glanced at the cereal (those Oreos were harder to find than a shred of dignity in Snoop Dogg’s Hot Pockets commercial) and skimmed enough to know that the product turned the milk green. Given the coloring of the box, I assumed it turned the milk “glow-in-the-dark green.” I made a mental note to check into these claims later.

As I left the store (Oreos-less), I began to wonder if/how turning milk — or anything edible — glow-in-the-dark would work. The effect I imagine is the glow-in-the-dark of glow sticks and any number of novelty items you buy around Halloween-time, from glow-in-the-dark hand-soap dispensers that don’t actually work to Pez dispensers that don’t actually work. Seriously — it seems like any typical glow-in-the-dark item has a one in 10 chance of actually working, like a package of firecrackers you found at the bottom of a damp box from 1989. 

What’s holding up the joy of watching yourself and others eat, say, glow-in-the-dark Oreos or Jell-O in pitch black? Two of the world’s biggest evils (according to some campaign talk in the past year or so) — government and science. 

The science? If you eat the chemicals (which are technically deemed “non-toxic”) that make a cheap plastic spider ring glow, there’s a chance you’ll get sick.

I’m neither a doctor nor a scientist, but I bet it’d taste pretty bad, too. 

The government gets blame because the potential candy-ish makers’ hands are tied by all of these outrageous regulations by the fascist U.S. Department of Agriculture, which won’t approve the use of phosphorescent chemicals in our food.

So the green milk in Halloween Crunch is just milk turned green by copious amounts of sugar in the cereal. Doesn’t even taste spooky — just boring old milk with a sugar kick. 

I also purchased a couple several three crates of Cadbury Screme Eggs, a Halloween twist on the delicious Easter favorite, but totally different because there’s a dab of glow-green coloring in the sugary yolk instead of yellow. Alas, my research concluded with some sick feelings, though unrelated to the non-poisonous gimmick.

There is demand for glow-in-the-dark edibles. Cooking and craft websites often feature queries about glow-in-the-dark party food around the Halloween season. The suggestions usually involve pulling the black-light out from the ’70s and using neon food coloring or other colors that really “pop” in black light. Like … white. (Some commenters do explain the science of it, but … you know, it’s the Internet.)

If you’re really in a pinch for food that glows on its own for Halloween, a woman in China reported sudden phosphorescent bacteria growth on her pork — which was declared still edible. On the downside — it glowed blue.

Just as I was nearing the end of my research into glowing edibles, I came across a nugget of tasty news — we did it! 

Man has at last created something you can eat that shines like a cartoon ghost and doesn’t require black light. In the “Celebrity Chefs” section of zimbio.com (a must-read for any celebrity chef aficionado) via the equally compelling celebritychefs.blog.co.uk, an exclusive report from earlier this year revealed that “award-winning Chef Paul Wedgwood” (you know, “from Edinburgh’s ‘Wedgwood the Restaurant’ in the Canongate on the Royal Mile?”) showcased “what is believed to be the first edible ‘glow in the dark’ body paint.” He was also presenting chocolate and peanut butter truffle cake with banana and honey ice cream and working on “edible metallic body glitter and massage oils.”

It probably won’t be in your local supermarket by any Halloween in the immediate future, but it seems like there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get it at the Hustler store by this time next year. The adult entertainment/porn world is once again ahead of everyone else in the world of technology.


CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen@citybeat.com or @CityBeatMusic

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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