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Tag Archives: Food

The Origin of the Birds in Beijing’s Famous Dish

Wu Shuiping misses the old days, when Beifu — the village of 300 households near Beijing where he grew up — was filled with fat, waddling ducks. Their incessant quacking was the soundtrack to his childhood, and their meat — particularly delicious when made into that symbol of gastronomic decadence, imperial Peking duck — appeared on dinner tables across the capital and beyond. “About half of all households here farmed them,” he says. “It was like a world of ducks.”

But these days, those who savor arguably the most iconic Chinese dish are more likely to gobble up imported breeds than domestic ones. Overseas competition has forced most villagers out of the duck business, and 46-year-old Wu is the only such farmer left in Beifu, located in the county that once supplied most of the region’s ducks.About half of all households here farmed them. It was like a world of ducks.

Wu raises a breed somewhat confusingly called Pekin duck, which was domesticated in Beijing about 600 years ago. In the late 19th century, Pekin ducks were imported into the U.K., where they were also reared for meat. Later, Pekins were interbred with a local variety to produce leaner birds that catered to British tastes. In the 1980s, as China began opening its economy to foreign imports, the U.K. began selling interbred Pekins back to China.

https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1002982/duck-tales-the-origin-of-the-birds-in-beijings-famous-dish

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Posted by on December 20, 2018 in Asia

 

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Electric food – the new sci-fi diet that could save our planet

It’s not about “them”, it’s about us. The horrific rate of biological annihilation reported this week – 60% of the Earth’s vertebrate wildlife gone since 1970 – is driven primarily by the food industry. Farming and fishing are the major causes of the collapse of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Meat – consumed in greater quantities by the rich than by the poor – is the strongest cause of all. We may shake our heads in horror at the clearance of forests, the drainage of wetlands, the slaughter of predators and the massacre of sharks and turtles by fishing fleets, but it is done at our behest.

As the Guardian’s recent report from Argentina reveals, the huge forests of the Gran Chaco are heading towards extermination as they are replaced by deserts of soya beans, almost all of which are used to produce animal feed, particularly for Europe. With Jair Bolsonaro in power in Brazil, deforestation in the Amazon is likely to accelerate, much of it driven by the beef lobby that helped bring him to power. The great forests of Indonesia, such as those in West Papua, are being felled and burned for oil palm at devastating speed.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/31/electric-food-sci-fi-diet-planet-food-animals-environment

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2018 in Reportages

 

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Has wine gone bad?

If you were lucky enough to dine at Noma, in Copenhagen, in 2011 – which had just been crowned as the “best restaurant in the world” – you might have been served one of its signature dishes: a single, raw, razor clam from the North Sea, in a foaming pool of aqueous parsley, topped with a dusting of horseradish snow. It was a technical and conceptual marvel intended to evoke the harsh Nordic coastline in winter.

But almost more remarkable than the dish itself was the drink that accompanied it: a glass of cloudy, noticeably sour white wine from a virtually unknown vineyard in France’s Loire Valley, which was available at the time for about £8 a bottle. It was certainly an odd choice for a £300 menu. This was a so-called natural wine – made without any pesticides, chemicals or preservatives – the product of a movement that has triggered the biggest conflict in the world of wine for a generation.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/may/15/has-wine-gone-bad-organic-biodynamic-natural-wine

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2018 in Reportages

 

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Charles Mann: Can Planet Earth Feed 10 Billion People?

‘America first does not mean America alone,” President Trump declared last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This sudden burst of pragmatism from an avowed nationalist showed what a difference a year can make. Denouncing the “false song of globalism” during his presidential campaign, Trump, on his third full day in office, canceled the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional trade deal with Japan and 10 other countries. He then denounced Canada, Germany and South Korea for exporting more to the United States than they import. He promised to renegotiate trade pacts with Europe, Canada and Mexico and get a better deal for American workers. In Davos, however, he reached out with conciliatory words to the very free-trading and globalizing elites he has consistently maligned.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/charles-mann-can-planet-earth-feed-10-billion-people/550928/

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2018 in Reportages

 

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Glyphosate and Arsenic: a Deadly Cocktail

The alarm comes from Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini of the French University of Caen who has recently published his latest study in the journal “Toxicology reports”, which shows that glyphosate-based herbicides contain heavy metals, such as arsenic. These co-formulants are not declared or declared as “inert”, and are covered by industrial secrecy of manufacturers, despite their proven toxicity: tested on human cells, co-formulants, composed of petroleum residues, have a very detrimental effect as they act as endocrine disruptors.

Seralini’s report confirms what has already been denounced by Navdanya and multiple civil society organizations at the recent Monsanto Tribunal and on subsequent occasions: the regulatory processes are far from transparent and democratic, as big agribusiness companies are able to intervene in political decision-making and interfere with regulatory agencies procedures. Consequently, the health risks of consumers and workers are very high. On the occasion of the Monsanto Tribunal, Navdanya International had interviewed Professor Seralini when were anticipated the results of the study now published.

http://members5.boardhost.com/xxxxx/msg/1515530629.html

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Nestlé Makes Billions Bottling Water It Pays Nearly Nothing For

In rural Mecosta County, Mich., sits a near-windowless facility with a footprint about the size of Buckingham Palace. It’s just one of Nestlé’s roughly 100 bottled water factories in 34 countries around the world.

Inside, workers wear hairnets, hard hats, goggles, gloves, and earplugs. Ten production lines snake through the space, funneling local spring water into 8-ounce to 2.5-gallon containers; most of the lines run 24/7, each pumping out 500 to 1,200 bottles per minute. About 60 percent of the supply comes from Mecosta’s springs and arrives at the factory via a 12-mile pipeline. The rest is trucked in from neighboring Osceola County, about 40 miles north. “Daily, we’re looking at 3.5 million bottles potentially,” says Dave Sommer, the plant’s 41-year-old manager, shouting above the din.

Silos holding 125 tons of plastic resin pellets provide the raw material for the bottles. They’re molded into shape at temperatures reaching 400F before being filled, capped, inspected, labeled, and laser-printed with the location, day, and minute they were produced—a process that takes less than 25 seconds. Next, the bottles are bundled, shrink-wrapped onto pallets, and picked up by a fleet of 25 forklifts that ferry them to the plant’s warehouse or loading docks. As many as 175 trucks arrive every day to transport the water to retail locations in the Midwest. “We want more people to drink water, keep hydrated,” Sommer says. “It would be nice if it were my water, but we just want them to drink water.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-09-21/nestl-makes-billions-bottling-water-it-pays-nearly-nothing-for

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in Reportages

 

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Glyphosate: une bonne lecon de democratie

Faut-il prolonger ou interdire l’usage du glyphosate, plus connu sous le nom de Roundup ? Depuis deux ans, les gouvernements européens tergiversent. Car, depuis mars 2015, l’herbicide le plus vendu dans le monde est aussi classifié « cancérogène probable » pour l’homme par le Centre international de recherche sur le cancer (CIRC). Cette agence des Nations unies est arrivée à cette conclusion sur la base du travail mené pendant un an par un groupe d’experts indépendants.

Jusqu’à mercredi 25 octobre, pourtant, il n’était question, pour la Commission européenne et la plupart des Etats membres de l’UE, que de renouveler pour dix ans l’homologation du « best-seller » du groupe américain Monsanto. En d’autres termes : de prendre la décision de continuer à exposer leurs concitoyens, les agriculteurs en premier lieu, à un pesticide jugé probablement cancérogène par l’agence scientifique internationale de référence.

http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2017/10/26/glyphosate-une-bonne-lecon-de-democratie_5206240_3232.html

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2017 in European Union

 

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The FBI’s Hunt for Two Missing Piglets Reveals the Federal Cover-Up of Barbaric Factory Farms

FBI agents are devoting substantial resources to a multistate hunt for two baby piglets that the bureau believes are named Lucy and Ethel. The two piglets were removed over the summer from the Circle Four Farm in Utah by animal rights activists who had entered the Smithfield Foods-owned factory farm to film the brutal, torturous conditions in which the pigs are bred in order to be slaughtered.While filming the conditions at the Smithfield facility, activists saw the two ailing baby piglets laying on the ground, visibly ill and near death, surrounded by the rotting corpses of dead piglets. “One was swollen and barely able to stand; the other had been trampled and was covered in blood,” said Wayne Hsiung of Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), which filmed the facility and performed the rescue. Due to various illnesses, he said, the piglets were unable to eat or digest food and were thus a fraction of the normal weight for piglets their age.Rather than leave the two piglets at Circle Four Farm to wait for an imminent and painful death, the DxE activists decided to rescue them. They carried them out of the pens where they had been suffering and took them to an animal sanctuary to be treated and nursed back to health.

Source: The FBI’s Hunt for Two Missing Piglets Reveals the Federal Cover-Up of Barbaric Factory Farms

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2017 in North America

 

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Goodbye – and good riddance – to livestock farming

What will future generations, looking back on our age, see as its monstrosities? We think of slavery, the subjugation of women, judicial torture, the murder of heretics, imperial conquest and genocide, the first world war and the rise of fascism, and ask ourselves how people could have failed to see the horror of what they did. What madness of our times will revolt our descendants?There are plenty to choose from. But one of them, I believe, will be the mass incarceration of animals, to enable us to eat their flesh or eggs or drink their milk. While we call ourselves animal lovers, and lavish kindness on our dogs and cats, we inflict brutal deprivations on billions of animals that are just as capable of suffering. The hypocrisy is so rank that future generations will marvel at how we could have failed to see it.

Source: Goodbye – and good riddance – to livestock farming | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Thirsty in Paradise

Beautifully lush islands jutting picturesquely out of the turquoise sea with sun glinting off the calm surrounding water: Such are the pictures of the Salomon Islands we have become familiar with from travel brochures. And they are not the kind of images that lead one to suspect that there might be a shortage of fresh water on this island chain located northeast of Australia.

But there is. According to the most recent statistics compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), four out of every 10 Salomon Islanders don’t have secure access to clean drinking water. This makes the Salomon Islands a member of the small group of countries in which the drinking water situation has not improved, but rather worsened, in the past few years. At the turn of the millennium, only two out of 10 Salomon Islanders lacked access to potable water.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/tomorrow/un-drinking-water-report-thirsty-in-paradise-a-1168701.html

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2017 in Reportages

 

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