If you live in California, please contact your California state Senator ( http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov ) and ask him or her to vote YES on California State Bill 1381 in favor of labeling GMO foods. The vote will likely be tomorrow, Wednesday, May 28.
Archive for the ‘Food’ Category
Posted by Anonymous on May 28, 2014
Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014
Used as a sugar substitute and often marketed as Nutrasweet and Equal, aspartame is an excitotoxin that destroys the brain and body. Its use has been a controversial subject since the 1980s when the CEO of Searle, Donald Rumsfeld, pushed for it’s approval to be sold on the market. Now, its name is being changed, with FDA approval, to try to dupe millions into purchasing and consuming this toxin once again.
Aspartame, even renamed Amino Sweet, is not safe. This substance is made using genetically modified bacteria in the US, but according to a Monsanto source, the UK market does not have to eat genetically modified bacteria excrement. Many ‘low-calorie’ foods contain GMO aspartame, however, even overseas. Aspartame may cause blindness, cancer, and brain tumors.
Just as a reminder of who is pushing this excrement – quite literally – on the consumers of the United states, it was Mr. Rumsfeld who went on to become George W. Bush’s secretary of Defense, and crony-Capitalist agenda-pusher. This one substance has continually been shown to cause harm to human health, so why is the FDA renaming it instead of banning it completely from the food supply? There is considerable evidence that artificial sweeteners cause cancer, including aspartame specifically – so why not name it something more appropriate at least? ‘Sickeningly Sweet’ might be more appropriate.
Even saccharin eventually had to be made with a label, mandated by Congress, that says, “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals”. The FDA’s own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross told Congress that without a shadow of a doubt, aspartame can cause brain tumors and brain cancer and that it violated the Delaney Amendment.
Slowly poisoning someone is totally legal in the USA … as long as you make money from doing it. ;-)
Posted by Anonymous on March 18, 2014
A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.
Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”
The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.
It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:
“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.”
By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.
These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over “the last five thousand years.”
Currently, high levels of economic stratification are linked directly to overconsumption of resources, with “Elites” based largely in industrialised countries responsible for both:
“… accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”
The study challenges those who argue that technology will resolve these challenges by increasing efficiency:
“Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.”
Productivity increases in agriculture and industry over the last two centuries has come from “increased (rather than decreased) resource throughput,” despite dramatic efficiency gains over the same period.
Modelling a range of different scenarios, Motesharri and his colleagues conclude that under conditions “closely reflecting the reality of the world today… we find that collapse is difficult to avoid.” In the first of these scenarios, civilisation:
“…. appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature.”
Another scenario focuses on the role of continued resource exploitation, finding that “with a larger depletion rate, the decline of the Commoners occurs faster, while the Elites are still thriving, but eventually the Commoners collapse completely, followed by the Elites.”
In both scenarios, Elite wealth monopolies mean that they are buffered from the most “detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners”, allowing them to “continue ‘business as usual’ despite the impending catastrophe.” The same mechanism, they argue, could explain how “historical collapses were allowed to occur by elites who appear to be oblivious to the catastrophic trajectory (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases).”
Applying this lesson to our contemporary predicament, the study warns that:
“While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory ‘so far’ in support of doing nothing.”
However, the scientists point out that the worst-case scenarios are by no means inevitable, and suggest that appropriate policy and structural changes could avoid collapse, if not pave the way toward a more stable civilisation.
The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth:
“Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.”
The NASA-funded HANDY model offers a highly credible wake-up call to governments, corporations and business – and consumers – to recognise that ‘business as usual’ cannot be sustained, and that policy and structural changes are required immediately.
… a number of other more empirically-focused studies – by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance – have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a ‘perfect storm’ within about fifteen years. But these ‘business as usual’ forecasts could be very conservative.
Continuity of Government, if the elites want it, is not going to be had by digging underground cities, stockpiling food, gas and water and waiting out the storm. The current fragile pyramid will not be maintained by the persecution of whistleblowers. Instead, the way to fix things is to get everyone to understand that we all fail if we don’t pull together. Teamwork or die.
Posted by Anonymous on March 17, 2014
Once more life imitates art, and a startup called BiteLabs is looking for support to create meat products from celebrity body parts, aiming to take cells from willing celebs and using them to grow protein into test-tube meat.
LATimes.com spoke with a representative of the organization: “At the moment, our primary goal is to provoke discussion and debate around topics of bioethics and celebrity culture.” …
Los Angeles Times’ “Daily Dish” reports on the newest and ’coolest’ way to devour ourselves:
[...]Here’s how it will work, according to the BiteLabs website. A sample of tissue containing myosatellite cells (the type of cells that help repair and regrow damaged muscle) will be taken from a person during a biopsy. Those cells are multiplied in a lab using a medium that acts as an artificial blood to grow muscle.
Once the cells are mature enough, they will be ground and mixed with different kinds of meat, spices, fats and oils for flavor using one of the company’s “time-honored recipes for the creation of fine cured meats.” It will then be stuffed into casings, seasoned again then dry aged and cured before packaging for distribution.
The company outlines how this type of test-tube meat would eliminate environmental and ethical concerns associated with livestock production, claiming its celebrity meat production would require less than 1% of the land used in traditional farming. The site also notes, the lab meats will not be affected by growth hormones or come into contact with any pesticides or chemicals.
And as far as the celebrity angle, BiteLabs is hoping they can use celebrities to warm people up to the idea of consuming the meat. …
Posted by Anonymous on March 11, 2014
The pesticide producers are one of the most powerful industries on the planet, the influence they possess is enormous. You have probably heard that an Elsevier journal has retracted the Seralini study which showed evidence of harm to rats fed a GMO diet, despite admitting they found no fraud or errors in the study.
This journal had also just recently appointed an ex-Monsanto employee as an editor – one could only guess the value of this strategy for the pesticide industry. Expect Seralini to sue as this story develops, as it appears he has a very strong case.
Alas, the scientific ground on which the genetic engineering of plants is built may now be shakier than ever, thanks to GMO promoting scientists like Dr. Pamela Ronald. A recent article in Independent Science News1 questions whether she’ll be able to salvage her career, as two of her scientific papers (published in 2009 and 2011 respectively) were recently retracted.
With the loss of her credibility, and the domino effect these retractions are likely to cause within the scientific field, the entire chemical technology industry stands to suffer a great blow to its scientific integrity.
“Her media persona… is to take no prisoners,” Jonathan Latham, PhD writes.2 “After New York Times chief food writer Mark Bittman advocated GMO labeling, she called him ‘a scourge on science’ who ‘couches his nutty views in reasonable-sounding verbiage.’ His opinions were “almost fact- and science-free” continued Ronald.
In 2011 she claimed in an interview with the US Ambassador to New Zealand: ‘After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of two billion acres planted, GE crops have not caused a single instance of harm to human health or the environment.'”
She may have to turn down her criticism a notch, considering the fact that not one but two of her own studies were found to contain sizeable scientific errors, rendering her findings null and void. Questions have also been raised about a third study published in 2011, according to the featured article.
Public Face of GMOs Loses Scientific Credibility
Ronald’s research group claimed to have identified a molecule used by rice plants to detect pathogenic rice blight, as well as a quorum sensing molecule (meaning a molecule that can coordinate gene expression according to the density of the local population).
These two studies, both of which are now retracted,3, 4 formed the basis of her research program at the University of California in Davis, which is investigating how rice plants detect certain pathogenic bacteria.
Ronald blamed the erroneous work by long gone lab members from Korea and Thailand, referring to the errors as a “mix-up.” She didn’t name her bungling colleagues, however. And while media coverage applauded Ronald for “doing the right thing” by retracting the studies, the featured article5 questions whether she really deserves such accolades:
“[S]cientific doubts had been raised about Ronald-authored publications at least as far back as August 2012… German researchers had been unable to repeat Ronald’s discoveries… and they suggested as a likely reason that her samples were contaminated.
Furthermore, the German paper also asserted that, for a theoretical reason, her group’s claims were inherently unlikely. In conclusion, the German group wrote: ‘While inadvertent contamination is a possible explanation, we cannot finally explain the obvious discrepancies to the results…’
Pamela Ronald, however, did not concede any of the points raised by the German researchers and did not retract the Danna et al 2011 paper. Instead, she published a rebuttal.
The subsequent retractions, beginning in January 2013, however, confirm that in fact very sizable scientific errors were being made in the Ronald laboratory. But more importantly for the ‘Kudos to Pam’ story, it was not Pamela Ronald who initiated public discussion of the credibility of her research.
… Ronald’s footnotes [in the explanation that accompanied the retraction of her second article6 admit two mislabelings, along with failures to establish and use replicable experimental conditions, and also minimally two failed complementation tests. Each mistake appears to have been compounded by a systemic failure to use basic experimental controls.
Thus, leading up to the retractions were an assortment of practical errors, specific departures from standard scientific best practice, and lapses of judgment in failing to adequately question her labs’ unusual (and therefore newsworthy) results.”
The Snowball Effect of Retracted Studies
According to data from Thomson Reuters,7 the numbers of scientific retractions have climbed more than 15-fold since 2001. What many don’t realize is that even a small number of retracted studies can wreak absolute havoc with the science-based paradigm. Other scientists who have based their research on the results from studies that, for whatever reason, end up being retracted, are now perpetuating flawed science as well. In one example, two retracted medical studies led to the retraction of another 17.
In this case, the first of Dr. Ronald’s retracted studies has been cited eight times.8 The second? 113 times.9 That sounds like an awfully large cleanup job in a field that’s already heavily criticized for its preponderance of “lousy science,” to use the words of award-winning geneticist Dr. David Suzuki.
The Problem with GMO Plant Science
It’s important to realize that genetically engineered plants and animals are created using horizontal gene transfer (also called horizontal inheritance). This is in stark contrast to vertical gene transfer, which is the mechanism in natural reproduction. Vertical gene transfer, or vertical inheritance, is the transmission of genes from the parent generation to offspring via sexual or asexual reproduction, i.e., breeding a male and female from one species.
Horizontal gene transfer, on the other hand, involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different species, which yields unexpected and often unpredictable results. Proponents of genetically engineered crops assume they can apply the principles of vertical inheritance to horizontal inheritance, but according to Dr. David Suzuki, this assumption is flawed in just about every possible way and is “just lousy science.”
Genes don’t function in a vacuum — they act in the context of the entire genome. Whole sets of genes are turned on and off in order to arrive at a particular organism, and the entire orchestration is an activated genome. It’s a dangerous mistake to assume a gene’s traits are expressed properly, regardless of where they’re inserted. The safety of genetically modified food is based only on a hypothesis, and this hypothesis is already being proven wrong.
The kind of horizontal gene transfer that is currently used to create new crop seeds tends to produce highly inflammatory foreign proteins. As one would expect, were there a connection, inflammation-based chronic diseases have indeed increased right alongside with the proliferation of GMO foods in the US. Clearly, Dr. Ronald never bothered to look at such data, and her declaration that “GE crops have not caused a single instance of harm to human health or the environment”10 is as lacking in scientific support as her retracted research.
Posted by Anonymous on March 5, 2014
Sam Murray, who captured this curious footage, happened upon this western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) tucking into a penguin on the beach at Cape Le Grande national park, located east of Esperance, WA in March 2013.
“We were walking down to the beach in the late evening before sunset, and we noticed a group of five or six kangaroos gathered on the beach. We started towards them and all the others were quick to hop away, but not this smaller one,” Sam says.
“He was really quite focussed on what he was doing. Even when we got to within a metre and a half of him, he wouldn’t stop eating.”
Kangaroos sometimes eat meat
Professor Graeme Coulson, a zoologist at the University of Melbourne, explains that “All living macropods appear to be gentle herbivores. They [generally] lack the equipment to capture and kill other animals, or the digestive system to handle a meaty diet.”
While penguins aren’t a typical kangaroo snack, Graeme says that “Australia once had carnivorous macropods. The largest of these was Propleopus oscillans, which stood up to 2 m tall and had teeth that were well adapted to eating meat. This ‘killer kangaroo’ went extinct tens of thousands of years ago.”
While this footage may strike many as peculiar, Professor Tim Flannery, an expert mammalogist, says “This is unusual, I admit, but most herbivores will eat some protein if it’s available. Tree kangaroos will eat birds and even cows will chew on a bone.”
Graeme also recognizes that known herbivores are not all strict vegetarians. “White-tailed deer in the USA have been reported stealing trout from a fishing camp and removing nestlings from nests hidden in prairie grassland. Captive macropods are known to eat a wide range of foods, including chicken and lamb chops. This western grey kangaroo was simply taking advantage of an easy meal,” Graeme says.
Posted by Anonymous on February 28, 2014
Footlong fans breathed a sigh of relief at the beginning of February, when sandwich chain Subway announced that it was removing azodicarbonamide — a chemical used in shoe rubber and yoga mats — from its bread.
Though the World Health Organization has said that the chemical is safe for human consumption, some studies have suggested it could be linked with asthma and skin and respiratory problems. And when the chemical is baked, it forms another chemical that has been linked to cancer in animal studies, CBS News pointed out. A series of popular petitions circulated by blogger Vana Hari, who runs the website FoodBabe.com, have also argued the case that its efficacy as a “bleaching agent” in bread just isn’t worth the potential health hazards.
It’s been well-established at this point that azodicarbonamide is a relatively common ingredient in processed foods. But a newly released study by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, suggests that azodicarbonamide is far more common than we may have realized. EWG pored through the ingredient lists of more than 80,000 common grocery foods in an attempt to figure out which products contained the chemical. And they found it in nearly 500 items sold under 120 different brand names. …
As a food additive, azodicarbonamide is used as a flour bleaching agent and an improving agent. It reacts with moist flour as an oxidizing agent. The main reaction product is biurea, a derivative of urea, which is stable during baking. Secondary reaction products include semicarbazide and ethyl carbamate. The United States and Canada permit the use of azodicarbonamide at levels up to 45 ppm. In Australia and Europe the use of azodicarbonamide as a food additive is banned.
Posted by Anonymous on February 24, 2014
Jiroemon Kimura the man who lived longer than any other man in recorded history attributed his robust health to waking early in the day, watching his food portion sizes (a regular breakfast of rice porridge and miso soup), reading the newspapers and watching parliamentary debates on TV.
There may be something special about those red beans with rice. “For his last birthday, he dined on grilled fish, steamed rice and red beans, a Japanese tradition on special occasions.” – (link)
I think Mr. Kimura was eating Sekihan (Japanese Azuki Beans & Rice). Was he growing his own food? He retired in 1962 at age 65 after 40 years as a postman and was then a farmer until age 90.
Azuki beans are a good source for a variety of minerals. They are rich in soluble fiber which lowers bad LDL cholesterol, low in calories and fat, they have healing properties for kidney, bladder and reproductive functions. The bean has diuretic effect to strengthen kidneys and may act an effective cure for urinary dysfunction and bladder infections. The presence of plant estrogens in these beans has been credited in breast cancer prevention by reducing body estrogen levels. The beans are high in protein (~25%) and easy to digest.
Azuki beans, 1 cup (230g) (cooked, boiled)
Total Fat: 0.23g
4.6 mg of Iron (~25% RDI)
119.6 mg of magnesium (~30% RDI)
1.223 g of potassium (~25 % AI)
4.0 mg of zinc (~25% RDI)
278 µg of folic acid (~70% RDI).
I’m going to try to grow some here in California. I was glad to hear that they are somewhat drought resistant.
Climatic requirements. Seeds do well during frost-free periods, with cool nights. The plant is reported to be somewhat drought resistant. Adzuki beans have similar requirements to soybeans or drybeans.
Propagation and care. Adzuki is a short-day plant that does not grow well in waterlogged soil. Information from the University of Minnesota recommends treating the seeds for fungi, insects and bacteria before planting. Adzuki beans emerge more slowly when the soil is 50 to 55�F. In Minnesota, the best planting time is between May and June. A good plant population is 105,000 plants per acre (25-35 pounds of seed). Plant seeds in rich, loamy soil, to 1 inch deep. Plants should stand 2 to 3 inches apart. Recommended row spacing varies from 12 to 18 inches, or 18 to 30 inches. Neutral to alkaline soil is required for maximum N fixation, and a medium to high soil test level of P and K should ensure adequate fertility levels and the best crop yield. Fertilize seedlings when they are 4 to 5 inches high and again when the flowers start to form pods. Moisture should be ample and at a consistent level. Uneven ripening is characteristic of adzuki beans. Expect mature pods, brownish in color, with slightly yellow and completely green pods on the same plant. Adzuki beans will fix nitrogen but require innoculation with a Rhizobium strain specific to this crop.
White mold, bacterial stem rot, and other bean diseases may affect adzuki beans. A good rotation program, furrow rather than overhead irrigation, use of disease-free seed and a spray program can help prevent these diseases. Most adzuki varieties are susceptible to a number of aphid borne viruses that attack legumes, including curly top virus.
Harvest and postharvest practices. To harvest as green beans, pick the adzuki pods when the beans are faintly outlined in the pod. Picking every 5 to 6 days is usually sufficient. In California Adzuki beans will mature in less thatn 120 days for use as dry beans.
Growers can cut and windrow adzukis in the morning to allow drydown and combine later in the day, or direct combine the beans with a grain header or row crop headers. Pods shatter very easily, especially if the harvest is delayed until late in the season or the day. To decrease losses, use slower speeds, open the concaves, and harvest only during appropriate hours. The entire plant, including dry pods, can be harvested and stacked in a dry, well-ventilated place for drying. Complete drying occurs a week or two after harvesting. After drying, shell the beans and store in refrigerated, air-tight containers.
Pest and weed problems. Adzuki beans compete poorly against weeds. Seed quality is critical to early vigor. Choose a location with light weed pressure and rotary hoe 7 to 10 days after planting. Cultivate the beans when the primary leaves are fully developed, and if necessary, 10 to 20 days later. …
Another important tip seems to be this: eat less!
So what does the world’s oldest man eat? The answer is not much, at least not too much. Walter Breuning, who turned 113 on Monday, eats just two meals a day and has done so for the past 35 years. “I think you should push back from the table when you’re still hungry,” Breuning said. At 5 foot 8, (“I shrunk a little,” he admitted) and 125 pounds, Breuning limits himself to a big breakfast and lunch every day and no supper. “I have weighed the same for about 35 years,” Breuning said. “Well, that’s the way it should be.” “You get in the habit of not eating at night, and you realize how good you feel. If you could just tell people not to eat so darn much.” – link
I love food too much. Would you rather eat all you want and be happy and comfortable … and die 20 years earlier? There is no solid evidence yet in primates that reducing calories will make you live longer, but there are hints. Azuki beans, which are low in calories, make it easier to accomplish calorie restriction with adequate nutrition (CRAN) because they give healthy levels of protein, vitamins and minerals. Do they taste good?
Posted by Anonymous on February 24, 2014
New York grocery chain said it never had a rodent complaint before a 96-year-old Long Island man claimed he found a dead rat baked into his birthday cake.
King Kullen bakery said in a written statement this weekend that it had recalled everything from the shelves of its bakeries, which are located inside its grocery stores.
“Product has been removed from the bakery and the premises has undergone a thorough inspection,” the statement said. “There are no known safety or rodent issues in this bakery.”
But Neil Gold said there was at least one rodent issue. His aged uncle Joe allegedly got a rude surprise last week at his birthday celebration when he noted his German apple ring cake had a somewhat ratty taste to it.
“He said, ‘It doesn’t taste right,'” Gold told WABC-TV in New York. We flipped it (the cake) over and seemed to be a rat’s tail.”
The Gold family lawyer, Ed Yule, told WABC he suspected someone tampered with the cake and will turn it over to New York state officials for further investigation.
via King Kullen pulls bakery products after rat found in birthday cake – UPI.com.
Happy 96th birthday, Mr. Neil Gold. Life is like that, isn’t it? If I was the judge hearing your case, I’d say the King Kullen store, if found responsible after an investigation by the health department, owes you free groceries for life. Then you should really get ‘em back by living to 116 like Jiroemon Kimura did! Best wishes.
Posted by Anonymous on February 20, 2014
Nestlé is recalling certain varieties of Hot Pockets after learning they’ve potentially been stuffed with “diseased and unsound animals.”
The company is voluntarily pulling the product from the shelves as part of a massive USDA recall of 8.7 million pounds of meat processed by Rancho Feeding Corp. The meat in question, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, is “unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce.” According to Nestlé, a “small quantity” of that meat may have made its way into the Hot Pockets produced at its California facility.
The affected products are Hot Pockets brand Philly Steak and Cheese in three different pack sizes, and Hot Pockets brand Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese in the two-pack box (more details on the specific batch numbers here). Other flavors — Ham & Cheese, Meatballs & Mozzarella, Bacon Cheddar Cheese Melt, etc. — are safe. …