Tag Archives | Food

Is It OK To Eat Dogs?

“Is it OK to eat dogs?,” asks Julian Baggini at the Guardian, telling us to “consider that eating man’s best friend is a matter of cultural tastes, not moral worth”:

Whenever western meat-eaters get up in arms over barbarous foreigners eating cute animals, it’s easy to throw around accusations of gross hypocrisy. Easy, because such accusations are often true. But responses to the dog meat festival in Yulin, China, which draws to a close today, merit more careful consideration. The double standards at play here are numerous, complicated, and not always obvious.

Photo: Stougard (CC)

Photo: Stougard (CC)

One so-called hypocrisy is nothing of the sort. If you find yourself disgusted by the thought of dogs being killed, cooked and eaten, but you eat other animals, that does not make you a hypocrite. If you’ve grown up seeing dogs as companion animals and haven’t even seen the reality of livestock slaughter, of course you’re going to find the idea somewhat distressing.

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The Monsanto Protection Act is Back, and Worse Than Ever

Press Release via The Center for Food Safety:

Latest changes to the Pompeo “DARK” Act create an anti-democracy, anti-consumer, anti-environment mega-bill

WASHINGTON – Center for Food Safety (CFS) today expressed strong opposition to Representative Pompeo’s newly revised genetically engineered (GE) food labeling preemption bill (H.R. 1599), which now has been greatly expanded to not only prohibit all labeling of GE foods, but also to make it unlawful for states or local governments to restrict GE crops in any way. These new provisions would not only prohibit any future state and local laws, but also undemocratically nullify GE crop regulations that have existed in numerous counties across the country for over a decade. The bill would also further weaken already weak federal regulation of GE crops, while at the same time forbidding local communities from opting to protect their citizens, their farmers, and their environments.

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Food Flavors: The Misinformation Industry

Who decides if added food flavors are “natural” or “artificial” and whether or not they are safe to eat? You might think it would be a government regulated body, but you’d be wrong. The food industry self-polices the labeling of added flavors through its own Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association. Putting aside the question of why  you would want to eat food that requires extra flavoring anyway, the Center for Public Integrity investigates what it calls “the misinformation industry”:

Ingredients created by food companies flavor what Americans eat each day — everything from juice drinks and potato chips to ice cream and canned soups. They give Cheetos their addictive cheesy taste and help distinguish Jolly Ranchers from other fruit-flavored candies.

Take your pick

Photo: DaDaAce (CC)

But the organization responsible for the safety of most “natural” and “artificial” flavors that end up in foods and beverages isn’t part of the U.S. government. Rather, the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association — a secretive food industry trade group that has no in-house employees, no office of its own and a minuscule budget — serves as the de-facto regulator of the nation’s flavor additives.

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Average American Consumes Over 300 Gallons of California Water Per Week

CA Avocados at the grove

Photo: California Avocados (CC)

Note that it’s the average American who consumes more than 300 gallons of California water each week, not the average Californian (whose usage is way higher). This is because this mythical average American is consuming a tremendous amount of food produced in California, everything from almonds to avocados explains the New York Times:

California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state. It is the most stubborn part of the crisis: To fundamentally alter how much water the state uses, all Americans may have to give something up.

The portions of foods shown here are grown in California and represent what average Americans, including non-Californians, eat in a week. We made an estimate of the amount of water it takes to grow each portion to give you a sense of your contribution to the California drought.

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The Backlash Against ‘Natural’ Foods

The pendulum of popular sentiment seems to be swinging back towards the “better living through chemistry” era just as the likes of Kraft and Pepsi are caving to demands for less chemicals in food. Gawker‘s post “The Bullshit Hypocrisy of ‘All-Natural’ Foods” is the latest example of skepticism about “natural” foods:

thenakedlabel.com

thenakedlabel.com

Here’s the thing about nature: It will fuck up your shit.

A few weeks ago, the website The Naked Label published a picture of a vibrant, colorful mushroom. It was captioned with a quotation from author and paleo diet advocate Diane Sanfilippo: “We cannot make food better than nature.”

The problem? The mushroom pictured was the Amanita muscariawhich is highly poisonous.

The Naked Label probably wasn’t recommending poisonous mushrooms as a part of your balanced cannabis-induced munchies on purpose. However, this tiny meme is symptomatic of a bigger problem on the internet: self-declared “natural health” gurus who say everything natural is automatically better.

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It’s not easy being cheesy…until now.


People Cheese. There really isn’t much more that can be added to this than what has already been expressed by the fine folks over at Cult of the Weird:

If you loved vagina yogurt, then you’re going to be really excited about the latest scientific breakthrough: Cheese made from human toe bacteria.

And armpit bacteria.

And belly button bacteria.

Not to mention, each cheese is complete with the donor’s body odor.

At some regrettable point in what will no doubt be referred to as a dark period in human history, microbiologist Christina Agapakis and artist Sissel Tolaas decided to make cheese using microbes growing on their own skin for an exhibit at the Science Gallery in Dublin.

According to this article on NPR, Agapakis had this to say about her exhibit:

“People were really nervous and uncomfortable, and kind of making these grossed out faces. Then they smell the cheese, and they’ll realize that it just smells like a normal cheese.”

Good, now even regular cheese has been ruined.

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Are Corporations Finally Cutting The Crap From Our Food?

It seems that at least some giant corporations have finally understood that we don’t want crap in our food, whether the crap concerned is chemical additives, high fructose corn syrup or genetically modified organisms. Last week saw an announcement by Kraft that it would eliminate chemicals from its mac and cheese and by Pepsi that it would eliminate aspartame from Diet Pepsi; this week starts with news (reported by the New York Times) from Chipotle that they won’t be serving any genetically altered food:

In a first for a major restaurant chain, Chipotle Mexican Grill on Monday will begin serving only food that is free of genetically engineered ingredients.

Chipotle

Photo: Thomas Hawk (CC)

 

“This is another step toward the visions we have of changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” said Steve Ells, founder and co-chief executive of Chipotle. “Just because food is served fast doesn’t mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives and fillers and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors.”

In 2013, Chipotle was the first restaurant chain to indicate which items contained genetically modified organisms, and a small but growing number of restaurants, largely in fine dining, also now label their menus.

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The Benign Weirdness of Seattle’s Mystery Machine

No, this isn’t some peculiar homage to Scooby Doo. This is something much weirder than some deranged fanboy or candy wielding creepazoid in a cartoon themed van.

Weirder, certainly, but in a curiously benign way. An Operation Mindfuck kind of way.

This tale is all about a slightly sinister soda machine on the streets of Seattle with a ‘Mystery’ button that dispenses random cans of soda pop.

mysterymachine1

fnord

Who is behind it and why remain a mystery, but I’d like to think that some acid addled benevolent prankster or hilariously warped social scientist is behind the conspiracy.

Atlas Obscura has the details:

On the corner of John Street and 10th Avenue East, in the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood lies the world’s most mysterious soda vending machine. Nobody knows the true history of the rusting machine, which looks like it was spat straight out of the Seventies, but locals continue to plunk down their change and the machine never seems to run out of stock.

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