Mar 17, 2010 at 9:13 am #1256590
The last trip, I brought along a pack of Mountain House Chicken Stew for 2. The package was intact and well within the expiration date (I checked both).
When it was time for dinner, I tore open the package and fished out the little "moisture absorbent" packet. There was a whiff of "turpentine"!
Once the water has boiled, I poured it into the package and waited about 10 minutes. When I opened the package, the turpentine smell was strong!!
The stuff looked "normal" and I took a little bite. It was actually revolting — and I spit out everything quick. The ONLY taste was an over powering "chemical" taste that I had never tasted before! The after taste was just as horrible — even with just an iddy biddy bite that was instantly spitted out!
Has anyone had similar experience with Mountain House?Mar 17, 2010 at 9:21 am #1587482
Whoa, Ben! Botulism is NO FUN! Be careful with packaged food that might seem spoiled!Mar 17, 2010 at 9:22 am #1587483
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern Minnesota
Wow Ben, it is pretty good you did not eat it.
I eat a lot of freeze dried as I really like them but have never tried that flavor. Nothing from them or the other guys have ever had that smell though, so I am guessing it was bad. I would contact CS and talk to them about it. Do you still have the batch number/exp date?
When the first dehydrated backpacking meals were introduced (before MH) I had a bad experience that scared me away from them until MH had been out for a while and getting good reviews.
When you hike with us someday ask Dave about his experience with an early meal. Talk about a campfire horror story…Mar 17, 2010 at 9:24 am #1587484
It wasn't spoiled in the normal sense — no sour taste whatsoever. It was a strong, obvious smell of "turpentine" — plus an overpowering, revolting chemical taste. I would call it turpentine taste, except I've never tasted turpentine before.Mar 17, 2010 at 9:30 am #1587486
Well, it looks like botulism is rare these days, but even then, why would you try something that smelled like turpentine (unless it was ouzo or had pine nuts in it)? Who knows what it was?!?!?Mar 17, 2010 at 9:37 am #1587490
Based on your explaination I would suspect that the oxygen absorber packet may have ruptured, or was defective. I would send Oregon Freeze Dry an email explaining your experience. You didn't by chance save the package did you?Mar 17, 2010 at 9:40 am #1587492
What does Mountain House have to say?
I'm sure they are interested in your experience.
Thus far I've had only good experiences with Mountain House, or as good as can be expected from the Freeze Dried shelf.Mar 17, 2010 at 9:44 am #1587495
I examined the small package and it was intact.Mar 17, 2010 at 9:52 am #1587497
I just called MH. They have never heard of the above — and unfortunately, although I packed the thing back home with me, I absent mindedly tossed all trash into the trash bin and it's been collected away.
MH offered to send me a replacement but I declined. It was just one bad package anyway.Mar 17, 2010 at 9:54 am #1587498
@einsteinLocale: Big Apple
Did you save the packaging? Can you post the lot/serial #? I think I have one of those at home. Besides the freakishness of the incident, did losing that meal impact your trip?
I've used MH for years, never had a problem with quality (taste, on the other hand…). Even stuff close to expiration date (I think the same month/year) was OK. I really like their Pro-Paks for compactness.
I think there's a lesson or reminder for all of us to pack an extra meal (or food) as this is a justifiable "just-in-case" scenario.Mar 17, 2010 at 9:56 am #1587499
INGREDIENTS: Potatoes, Cooked Chicken, Linseed Oil, Carrots, Turpentine, Peas, Corn Oil, Formaldehyde, and contains 2% or less of Nonfat Dry Milk, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Hydrolyzed Corn Soy Wheat Gluten Protein, Dehydrated Onions, Chicken Fat, Sugar, Paint thinner, Spices, Soybean Oil, Garlic Powder, and Spice Extract. Contains: Milk, Soy, Wheat.
It must be just you! The ingredients look fine!
Ok….seriously, I like mountain house and I've never had a bad experience. I'd contact them asap.Mar 17, 2010 at 9:57 am #1587500
My last post above will answer some of your questions (we were probably typing away at the same time).
I did bring an extra MH — so no impact on my trip. Like you, I've used their products for years now and have no complaints at all (except the taste could be improved further).Mar 17, 2010 at 9:58 am #1587501
Brian – my hiking buddy smelled the same "turpentine" smell.Mar 17, 2010 at 10:06 am #1587508
That makes 2 of you who do not like the latest gourmet craze – "Chicken ala Turpentine". Sounds like it could be a throwdown with Bobby Flay.
I have never had the "Chicken Stew" but I do like several MH meals….hopefully this is just an isolated incident. I can imagine how disappoionting it is to cook up a hot meal, and then "surprise".
I saw that they offered a replacement, and seems weird that they have never heard of something like this….and if so, I'm sure they would not mention it.Mar 17, 2010 at 10:45 am #1587519
>> unless it was ouzo
would've taken Ben from Bad Experience to Purple Haze : )
Definitely contamination at processing plant. This is a common risk we all face due to so much being processed by so little. Glad to hear you were not harmed.Mar 17, 2010 at 12:06 pm #1587549
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
I don't find it weird.
Years ago I went to eat a MH meal on a trip. When I went to eat it, it reeked like chemicals for cleaning. It was BAD smelling. Ford and I went hungry that night. It was the reason I quit eating commercial meals for the most part and what changed me.
Only that one meal, but it was enough.Mar 17, 2010 at 12:08 pm #1587555
Makes one wonder about those chemicals — whatever they are! And this reminds me of the "benzene scare" that almost did Perrier in back in the '80's.Mar 17, 2010 at 12:26 pm #1587569
Sorry to hear about that Ben. Good thing you had an alternate plan. Whenever I go out I plan my food and then there's the "+1" for when/if that exact thing happens.
I've used their stuff for years with no problems. Remember the cardboard "ring" you had to punch out from the white base and push it down the bag opening after you twisted it? LOL (or was that BPP?).
Anyhow, due to the cost and some of the "stuff" in those things I've been slowly working on making my own – got Sarah's book off Amazon and it has been a great help.Mar 17, 2010 at 12:47 pm #1587572
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Oh wow, that is memory lane! The ring that would always pop off. Lol!Mar 17, 2010 at 2:47 pm #1587612
@markrLocale: Santa Cruz
It couldn't have tasted any worse than their Turkey TetrazziniMar 17, 2010 at 8:34 pm #1587731
Several years ago I had a bad experiuence with a freeze-dry meal. I don't remember the brand but when we opened the package of beef stroganoff it had an "off" smell. Thinking that it may have just been an odd spice, we hydrated it anyway and let it set. When we opened the package to eat, it smelled like rotten meat! One brave soul in our group (Darwin?) took a bite and immediately spit it out. The meal had apparently spoiled, but there was no obvious breach of the packaging, nor any outward sign that the meal was unfit to eat. That put me off of packaged FD meals for quite a while. I still use them occasionally, but always inspect the packages closely before purchase and use.
It sounds like Ben's meal was probably contaminated in the factory. I would guess by chemicals used to clean or disinfect equipment. Probably inadequate flushing after routine cleaning. MH should take his report as a warning and pay closer attention to proper cleaning procedures and perhaps a bit more QA/QC!Mar 17, 2010 at 10:01 pm #1587750
@becklaLocale: Southern California
You could have tossed a match in and had a flambeau!Mar 17, 2010 at 10:05 pm #1587752
True.Mar 17, 2010 at 10:28 pm #1587765
You could have used your meal to remove the pigment from that grand wilderness canvas, too. And had yourself a personal whiteout.
Oh my dining, oh my dining, oh my dining Turpentine!
You are lost engulfed for ether, oh my dining Turpentine!Mar 17, 2010 at 11:20 pm #1587772
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