Posts Tagged ‘food’

Safety of Plastics and Alternatives

April 5, 2008

“Some scientists are concerned that a chemical found in some plastic products, such as water bottles and children’s sippy cups, could make you very sick and possibly cause cancer.” 01

“Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic — a sturdy, hard plastic found in all sorts of consumer goods, including some nondisposable water bottles, baby bottles, sippy cups and can liners…In a variety of lab studies, it’s been linked to diseases like breast cancer, prostate cancer, obesity, reproductive problems and diabetes…It’s like putting a time bomb into the organs…” 01

“When you eat or drink things that are stored in plastic, taste it, smell it, wear it, sit on it, and so on, plastic is incorporated into you. In fact, the plastic gets into the food and food gets into the plastic and you. So, quite literally, you are what you eat. . . drink. . . and breathe – plastic!” 02

“Although phthalates have been used as plasticizers to soften plastic toys for many years, questions are now being raised about whether their use is appropriate… The debate on the use of phthalates has been expanding in the United States and in Europe.” 03

“Plastic materials/articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs…may contain a variety of substances [that] can be transferred from the plastic material/article into the food during processing and storage, a process known as migration.”  04

“Many people are so worried…that they’re ditching the plastic and looking for containers made from other materials. But that has raised other questions: Just how safe are the alternatives, and is Health Canada trying to find out?” 05

Sources:
01. 2007/11/08 – WBAL TV: Safety Of Chemical Used In Plastic…Questioned
02. 2003/11/16 – Mindfully: Get Plastic Out Of Your Diet
03. 2000/01/11 – KidSource: Mothers Concerned About Safety of Softeners in Plastic Toys…
04. 2007/09/18 – Food Science Central: Plastic packaging and food safety
05. 2008/03/11 – Globe&Mail: Are alternatives any safer than plastics?

Other Links:
HubPages: The truth about plastic
2005/04/13 – EHP: Low-Dose Effects of Bisphenol A Shows the Need for a New Risk Assessment
2005/08/03 – Mindfully: Alternatives to Plastic
2006/05/11 – NCBI: Large effects from small exposures.

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Market Forces

April 3, 2008

A ClimateCartoons present (published with permission ).
comic

Made Where?

March 15, 2008

“The soaring Canadian dollar has spurred manufacturers to replace Canadian ingredients with imports…As our currency has run up, so has…buying power outside of Canada. It makes sense to source cheaper products outside of Canada.” 01 That may be well and good for food manufacturers, but should we care?

Assuming that the origin of ingredients is known, the main consideration for most people may automatically be whether or not any savings are being passed on to us. Fewer people may be informed enough to be aware of shrinking markets for Canadian crops and the potential economic risk that may pose to local farmers. Many consumers are likely concerned about the safety of imports.

But that presumes an awareness that ingredients are being imported. As I previously noted here, many products sold to us as being ‘Made in Canada’ may not be.

Sources:
01. 2008/03/15 – LFP: Not so made in Canada

Is Mad-Cow Disease in Canada’s Food Chain?

March 14, 2008

Two Saguenay-region deaths in the past three months have been attributed to CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease), which has killed a total of 359 Canadians since 1994. Brain autopsies will be performed in order to determine if the rare variant linked with mad-cow disease was responsible, but results will not be available before May or June. 01

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Food Bank Challenge

March 11, 2008

The London Food Bank has issued a challenge. The premise is that, by restricting your family food intake to “$30 for yourself and…$25 for each additional family member for all food [which] includes coffee, donuts and lunch money and not using any food which may have been previously purchased, you’ll find out if you could live on the kind of annual income that it’s clients typically have to. 01

Having accepted the challenge, London Free Press reporter Joe Matyas writes that “it was a learning experience.” 02 But was it the right one? And although the article may have helped Sun Media to sell a few newspapers, did it really convey much insight into the plight of too many people?

One week is hardly enough time to gain much of an appreciation for the kinds of choices that have to be made on such a low income. And simply concentrating on diet terribly minimizes the problem of having to make equally and often impossibly difficult choices with respect to things like shelter, clothing, assistive devices, personal hygiene, transportation, recreation and entertainment (food for the soul), continuing education, counselling, legal representation, etc.

Like politicians who spend a few hours on the street to experience homelessness, or a day in a wheelchair at City Hall to experience being disabled (correction… one kind of physical disability), this strikes me as being a whole lot more about posturing than acquiring any meaningful understanding.

Sources:
01. London Food Bank: Take the Food Bank Challenge
02. 2008/03/10 – LFP: Food bank issues shop-on-a-budget challenge

Other Links:
AlterNet: Food Bills Getting You Down?

irkworks

March 2, 2008

An IrkWorks sketch (published with permission ).
comic

I’ve decided to post this artists work on a regular schedule. I hope you like it too.

Making Waste Smell Like Money

March 2, 2008

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Admittedly, we don’t have too much of a problem with people openly defecating in public. Still, it’s possible that a new technology by Indian plastics and textiles manufacturer Sintex Industries could have some application here.

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BSE #12 … and counting

February 29, 2008

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a six-year-old dairy cow from Alberta on Tuesday. 01

The agency is reported to have said that no part of [this] infected animal’s carcass entered the human food or animal feed chains and that Canada’s “controlled risk” status will not be affected. 02

“If a person consumes any part of the animal or animal parts from a diseased cow it always turns into the fatal brain wasting variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease also known as vCJD.” 03

Sources:
01. 2008/02/26 – CFIA: BSE case confirmed in Alberta
02. 2008/02/27 – CP: Infected Alberta dairy cow latest case …
03. 2008/02/27 – InjuryBoard: Another Mad Cow Found…Amid Many Loopholes

Links:
2007/12/18 – Reuters: Canada finds 11th BSE case in old beef cow
2007/12/18 – CTV: CFIA reports new mad cow case in Alberta
2007/12/18 – CattleNetwork: BSE Case Confirmed In Alberta
2007/12/18 – CP: Food inspection agency confirms mad cow…
2007/12/18 – WallacesFarmer: New BSE Case Found In Canada
2007/12/18 – SaskatoonHomepage: BSE Case in Alberta
2007/12/18 – CdnCattlemen: CFIA finds Canada’s 11th mad cow
2007/12/18 – AP: Canadian food inspection agency confirms mad cow
2007/12/18 – AFP: Canada finds mad cow in 13-year-old steer
2007/12/18 – Bloomberg: Canada Confirms Eleventh Case of Mad-Cow Disease
2007/12/18 – Brownfield: Canada finds latest case of BSE
2007/12/18 – NQR: New case of mad cow in Canada
2007/12/19 – Toronto Star: Case of mad cow confirmed
2008/02/26 – Epoch Times: Canada Confirms 12th Case of Mad Cow Disease

Hierarchy of Fruit

February 27, 2008


An XKCD sketch.
comic

Square Watermelon

January 17, 2008

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“These square melons will make it easier than ever to eat because they can be served in long strips rather than in the crescent shape.”

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Better Health Protection in City of Calgary

December 31, 2007

Trans fat is created by turning liquid oils into semi-solid cooking/baking fats. Besides imparting a taste and texture to food that many people prefer, these fats are cheaper than healthier alternatives. Which is why so many restaurants use them. But trans fats raise the level of low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol in the body and can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease.

The federal government has resisted regulation of the industry practise. Instead of acting in the public interest, the feds have simply asked food producers to voluntarily meet a 2006 task force guideline that no more than 5 per cent of the total fat content in any food should consist of trans fats. Even though there is no safe level of consumption.

So, kudos to the city of Calgary, Alberta. Beginning 2008/01/01, restaurants in that municipality “will not be allowed to cook with fats and oils that have more than 2-per-cent trans fats in total fat content. The same rule applies to all margarines and margarine-based spreads served in those outlets” (‘Calgary cracks down on trans fat‘; Globe & Mail; 2007/12/31 ). It becomes the first city in Canada to institute such health-conscious protection.

Links:
2006/12/23 – Calgary Sun: CHR eyes ban on trans fats
2007/03/28 – CBC: Calgary continues push for trans fat ban
2007/07/16 – Toronto Star: `Fat Cat’ Calgary set to slim down
2007/12/21 – FMBS: The King of Trans-Fat
2007/12/28 – CTV: Calgary to be Canada’s first trans fat-free city
2008/01/03 – Globe & Mail: The hidden hazards of trans-fat bans

The King of Trans-Fat?

December 21, 2007

Sally Brown (CEO; Heart and Stroke Foundation) labelled Burger King the “King of Trans Fat” earlier today because many of the company’s products still contain unacceptably high levels of trans fats.

Fast-food companies often simply use the chemically changed oils (liquid to artery-clogging semi-solid) in their products because it extends shelf life, and that means increased profit.

“Not all companies are reducing them in all products, but Burger King isn’t reducing them in any products.”

Appended 2007/12/22:

click for larger imageHere’s the BK at Commissioners/Pond Mills in London, Ont; as you can see, being newly-crowned as king of trans fats doesn’t appear to be hurting business any.

Links:
2007/12/20 – CBC: …Burger King in the hot seat
2007/12/20 – Toronto Star: Burger King takes … trans fat crown
2007/12/20 – CityNews: …Government Report Names Names
2007/12/21 – Toronto Star: Burger King scores worst on trans fats
2007/12/21 – Globe & Mail: Burger King reigning leader in trans fats
2007/12/31 – Globe & Mail: Calgary cracks down on trans fat

BSE #11 … and counting

December 18, 2007

Canada’s 11th confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was announced earlier today.

The 13-year-old ‘mad cow’ was born in Alberta “before Canada and the United States introduced a ban in 1997 on cattle feed that contained ingredients made from rendered cattle and other ruminants…Canada has now also banned the risk material from all types of livestock feed in an effort to eliminate BSE from Canada’s herd within 10 years.”

The diseased beef cow “spent its entire life on the same farm”, and CFIA ( the Canadian Food Inspection Agency) was reported to have said that “no part of the animal’s carcass had entered the human or animal food supply.”

A CFIA inspector said that [the]BSE surveillance program…has tested about 190,000 cattle since 2003.”

Links:
2007/12/18 – Reuters: Canada finds 11th BSE case in old beef cow
2007/12/18 – CTV: CFIA reports new mad cow case in Alberta
2007/12/18 – CattleNetwork: BSE Case Confirmed In Alberta
2007/12/18 – CP: Food inspection agency confirms mad cow…
2007/12/18 – WallacesFarmer: New BSE Case Found In Canada
2007/12/18 – SaskatoonHomepage: BSE Case in Alberta
2007/12/18 – CdnCattlemen: CFIA finds Canada’s 11th mad cow
2007/12/18 – AP: Canadian food inspection agency confirms mad cow
2007/12/18 – AFP: Canada finds mad cow in 13-year-old steer
2007/12/18 – Bloomberg: Canada Confirms Eleventh Case of Mad-Cow Disease
2007/12/18 – Brownfield: Canada finds latest case of BSE
2007/12/18 – NQR: New case of mad cow in Canada
2007/12/19 – Toronto Star: Case of mad cow confirmed

Events – 2007/12/18

December 18, 2007


Date: 2007/12/18 (Tuesday)  
When: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm  
Where: London InterCommunity Health Centre
659 Dundas Street
 
What: Toy & Food Drive  
To learn more, contact Brenda Craig 519-660-0874 (ext. 228).


Consumer Alert – Feds Attack Canadians with Saturated Fat

December 17, 2007

OTTAWA, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - 
With Federal Government Ministers 
Jim Flaherty (Finance), David Emerson 
(International Trade), and Gerry Ritz (Agriculture) 
poised to announce the passing of legislation to substantially 
increase the fat content of cheeses sold in Canada, the 
Consumers' Association of Canada wonders if 
Health Minister Tony Clement is asleep at the switch. 

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