Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What's for Breakfast: Quesadilla Inc.

By Ed Bruske
aka The Slow Cook

I'll bet you hadn't guessed that this "breakfast quesadilla" is made by the same company that makes the infamous "scrambled eggs" that travel 1,100 miles pre-cooked and frozen from a factory in Minnesota to schools in the District of Columbia.

That's right, Michael Foods, Inc., of Minnetonka, MN, bills itself as "the world's largest egg processing company." Besides frozen scrambled eggs and frozen "breakfast quesadillas," the company sells an array of egg products you probably never heard of--and others you have no doubt seen on your grocer's shelves.

"From our plants in the U.S. and Canada, we offer a complete line of Easy Eggs® Extended Shelf Life refrigerated liquid, frozen liquids, dried powders, pre-cooked, and other value-added specialty egg products," reads the company website. "Our brands of Papetti's®, M.G. Waldbaum and Inovatech Egg Products have a long history throughout the foodservice/catering, commercial baking, retail and food processing industries as providing leadership roles in the development of egg-based products to meet the needs of the modern operator."

Apparently, one of those "modern operators" would be D.C. Public Schools, or its hired food contractor, Chartwells-Thompson.

From Michael Foods, "modern operators" can purchase a whole line of liquid eggs, frozen eggs, dried eggs and something called "extended shelf life eggs." The "breakfast quesadillas," shipped frozen, then re-heated in a steamer while still in their plastic wrappers, are sold under the Pappetti's "Table Ready" brand. (Sorry, no clue who or what "Pappetti" is.)

This is what the quesadilla looks like fresh out of its plastic wrapper. In the background you can see one with wrapper.

Last year Michael Foods posted gross earnings of more than $1 billion. It's being sold by current owners Thomas H. Lee Partners, an investment group, to a division of Goldman Sachs--GS Capital Partners--for $1.7 billion.

That's a lot of eggs.

In case you were wondering what's in those quesadillas, here's the ingredient list from the box they came in. Each 3.24-ounce portion contains:

"Tortilla, enriched bleached flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin, mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, vegetable shortening (partially hydrogenated soybean and or cottonseed oils), contains 2% or less of the following: baking powder *sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch and monocalcium phosphate), salt, calcium propionate (organic acid and calcium salt), distilled mono and diglycerides, sorbic acid and baking soda. Filling: whole eggs, cooked turkey sausage (mechanically separated turkey, water, textured vegetable protein concentrate, caramel color), salt, spices, paprika, flavoring), pasteurized process low fat mozzarella cheese (culture milk, water, skim milk, sodium phosphates, salt, sorbic acid (preservative), enzymes, Vitamin A Palmitate), pasteurized process reduced fat cheddar cheese (cultured milk, water, skim milk, sodium phosphates, salt, annatto color, sorbic acid (preservative), enzymes, Vitamin A palmitate). Contains 2% or less of the following: modified corn starch, salt, citric acid, xanthan gum.


  1. That ain't eggs!
    Perhaps we need to create a hazardous ingredient list for schools. Kinda like a "no fly" list.

    Partially hydrogenated soybean and or cottonseed oils would be at the top.

    Better School Food has already formulated a list of these unhealthy ingredients.

  2. Good grief, that's just appalling.

    This morning, my children ate fresh-from-farm local eggs with strawberries from our garden and whole wheat toast. And then I packed their lunches for school, because I don't want them to eat crap with hydrogenated-anything in it.

  3. did any of the children eat this?
    did they like it?

    Does it worry anyone that all this food is reheated in the plastic it comes in? It boggles the mind what we are doing to the children.

  4. Earnings weren't $1 billion..that is sales...Papetti was a company MFI bought that was from Elizabeth NJ. Suggest you make your recipe and then using the govt system put EVERYTHING that is on the labels of the poducts you use to make it and it will read pretty much like the above. Flour isn't just flour MFI is a fine company who gets products made and in the hands of schools that otherwise wouldn't have the ability to feed eggs,etc. easily to large amounts of students.

  5. Wow.

    Served up on a styrofoam plate with plastic wrapped disposable utensils. No wonder schools are going broke.