Posts Tagged ‘ food ’

Lab Meat Burgers

As eating real animal meat becomes more and more unsustainable, scientists are turning their labs into food laboratories. CNN did a report on a lab-grown meat. Note that this meat was grown from real cow cells. One burger cost about $300,000. The lab meat has no fat — this affects its taste. And it only looks like meat due to added food coloring — lab meat is white! Yam!

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2013/08/05/rivers-serving-up-stem-cell-burger.cnn.html

Global Food Prices Are Rising

BBC Food Prices Report

The price of food around the world is set to rise as the Global Warming is causing draughts in many agricultural areas. Here’s a story from BBC: Global food prices set to rise due to severe weather

FDA Nutrition Labels are Getting Makeovers

“The Food and Drug Administration says that updating nutrition labels is a priority this year, although it’s unclear when the labels will change.”

FDA food labels

Getting information from food labels was one of the problems we’ve identified at the start of this project. It would be great to find out where the food comes from — how far did it have to travel? How was it produced? What was the eco footprint for the food we are consuming? We need to be able to make better choices at our local supermarkets. But to do that, we need good information.

Tradition Versus Progress

Cindy Sui Taimanise handmade noodlesCindy Sui of BBC News wrote an article examining the economics of producing traditional food: “Calling time on Taiwan’s handmade noodles.”

Hand-pulled string noodles, called mian xian in Mandarin, have been made for around 2,000 years. … Today only about 50 noodle makers are thought to remain in Taiwan.”

The economics of producing the noodles by hand changed — a family making the noodles for 14 hours each day can make only $100. And the hand-made noodles are sold for $2 to $3 per bag. It’s too much effort for too little reward — not enough to feed a family and to provide for all the other basic needs. And so another food tradition has to die. There will still be people making noodles by hand, but it will be something very special (and very expensive) and so an average person might never taste “the real thing!”

US Food Policy

Famines are not necessarily caused by a lack of supply, but by a failure to get the food that exists to the people who need it. — Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize Winning Economist

New York Times article “The Insanity of Our Food Policy” By Joseph Stiglitz about American Food and Farm policies provided an interesting collection of data:

  • 15% of US population and 2-% of its children live in poverty.
  • SNAP — Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program — gives $4.00 per day per person toward food purchases for those living below poverty threshold [for family of 4 this is equals to $23,492 per year (in 2012)].
  • The U.S. House of Representatives is proposing to cut an additional $40,000,000,000 from the SNAP program over 10 years after already cutting $5,000,000,000.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives is passing the Farm Subsidies worth $14,900,000,000.
  • In approximately the last 10 years, 1% of the famers received $1,500,000 each.
  • In approximately the last 10 years, 10% of all farms got 3/4 of $14,900,000,000, or $30,000 per farm per year.

You do the math!

The Insanity of Food Policy Article

Note by Note Gastronomy

molecular gastronomy
Chef Heston Blumenthal talks about the components of food — oils, amino acids, sugars, and other basic compounds — and how they can be used to create molecular gastronomy. This is food minus the fruits, vegetables, and meat… Enjoy!

Is this what we’ll eat in the future?

The Fall of Great Civilizations and Bad Soil

Homeland Security News Wire published as story on correlation between the fall of civilizations and poor spoil management: Planet’s arable land rapidly degrading.

Great civilizations have fallen because they failed to prevent the degradation of the soils on which they were founded. The modern world could suffer the same fate. A new study describes how the productivity of many lands has been dramatically reduced as a result of soil erosion, accumulation of salinity, and nutrient depletion.

Soil degradation map

Study: Chicken is Highly Contaminated with Arsenic

Cooked ChickenRoxarsone, an arsenic-based drug used in chicken production, has been contaminating chicken sold to the American people: “Study Finds Conventional Chicken to be Highly Contaminated with Arsenic.”

The researchers found the cooked conventional chicken had the highest level of arsenic, at about 1.8 micrograms per kilogram of body weight (1.8mg/kg). Cooked organic chicken had the lowest levels, at 0.6mg/kg.

Do people care what goes into their food? YES!

A few weeks ago, there was a food scandal: UK Tesco Supermarkets were selling hamburger patties labeled as beef but containing 29% horsemeat! Tesco issued many apologies…

BBC News did some investigative reporting, and Samantha Dalton wrote an article: “What is actually in a value burger?” The article provided the following information on the ingredients of beef economy burgers sold in UK:

  • 47% meat — defined as “skeletal muscle with naturally included or adherent fat and connective tissue” which has not been mechanically stripped from the carcass.
  • 10% onion and/or onion extract
  • fat
  • flour or rusk
  • dehydrated meat powders
  • stabilising chemicals

Rose Prince, a UK food journalist and author, said: “Supermarkets are battling with each other to be the cheapest, and demanding better and better deals from their suppliers.” Essentially, she is saying that it is us, the consumers, that are demanding low quality from our supermarkets. “You get what you pay for” kind of analysis.

So the next time you are thinking about buying a burger in England, you might think again and go vegetarian!

Rising Prices of Chicken in UK

BPC warns consumers of chicken price rises — yet another article and warning about the rising costs of food and chicken in particular. This time, the people of UK are warned to expect to pay more for chickens due to high cost of chicken feed, which has risen due to a bad harvest this year.

I hope people in UK will use our crowdmap to track the rising chicken inflation.