A VEGA Trustee receives “a small Toucan” of Appreciation and becomes an Absentee Landlord of Brazilian Ecology
The trustee is a longstanding participant in projects aimed at producing alternatives to supplant (!) the evils of the dairy/beef/veal industry.Plant foods for human nutrition offer wonderful opportunities for this humane progress, utilizing leaves, seeds, and pulses directly as foods rather than committing them – in cattle wastefully and environmentally pollutingly – to turning feeds into the white stuff and its derivatives.
We recently posted an up-to-date review of the buoyant soya-based dairy-free milk-market, a rapid sequel to which is the arrival to our Trustee of an appreciation and “Very best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a rewarding 2007. From everyone at Alpro.” This is accompanied by a certification that “Alpro soya has purchased 0.25 acre of virgin tropical rainforest” located at the Guapi Assu Reserve in Mata Atlantica, Brazil, on behalf of our Trustee.
Location of the Guapi Assu Reserve
“This land, which is part of a 50-acre block of rainforest purchased by Alpro UK for Christmas 2006 on behalf of our valued customers and suppliers, will now be safeguarded in perpetuity together with the animals, birds, and plants that live in and are dependent on it.” So our Trustee has now gained a stewardship of an area of the Brazilian rainforests much greater than his garden.
The parcel of land is located in the Guapi Assu Reserve, one of the last stands of tropical rainforest left in the severely depleted Atlantic Rainforest (Mata Atlantica) in Brazil. The Atlantic rainforest is considered one of the most endangered and ecologically important eco-regions in the world. Owing primarily to clearing of forests for coffee plantations and trees and logging for hardwoods there is now only 7% of the original area remaining, most of which consists of isolated fragmented patches. The Alpro certification emphasizes that “The massive destruction of this ‘Global Hotspot for Biodiversity’ had been described as ‘one of the biological tragedies of this century’ and makes preventing more loss of the Atlantic rainforest a priority for international conservation efforts”. We can also note the clearances for growing soya as feed and concentrates for livestock producing meat, milk, and poultry products for exportation and rising consumption within Brazil. Some is used for dairy-free alternatives for human consumption. Customers should scrutinize labelling information and claims on provenance.
The Guapi Assu Reserve comprises an area of 5,500 ha and is situated 80km northeast of Rio de Janeiro. The reserve spans 200m to 2000m above sea level and provides a range of unique habitats including highland rainforest and lowland wetlands. The Guiapi Assu is home to a huge variety of wildlife, boasting many endemic species of plants and animals. These include 55 mammal species, among them Puma, Ocelot, Sloth, and Woolly Spider Monkey and at least 420 bird species including the Saw-billed Hermit, Elegant Mourner, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Bare-throated Bellbird, Channel-billed Toucan, and Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant. (How dull the congregation at our suburban seems now!)
There is a lot more to the World Land Trust, of which REGUA is a partner, and their efforts at protecting a reserve in one the largest remaining areas of Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest. As part of its program of habitats restoration and species reintroduction it reports: “The Săo Josè farm at REGUA once held a large lowland wetland with rare species of trees, orchids, and bromeliads (epiphytes such as pineapple). It was cut, drained, and turned into pasture 30 years ago. REGUA wants to restore this special vegetation type and the surrounding 60ha of degenerated pasture and use it as an educational tool for primary schools and universities. Its objective is to be introduced to the environment, understand their relationship to the environment, and finally learn to care for the environment.
VEGA responds to the
FSA consultation on Notification and Marketing of Food for Particular Nutritional Uses.
1. Trends in the food market, nutrigenomics, and metabolomics are blurring definitions of commodities intended for general or particular use and presented as functional foods or specifically fortified products. Treatments with drugs, complemented by dietary regiment and aversions for the various reasons of perceived idiosyncratic allergy and intolerance, will increase opportunities for particular nutritional uses.
2. Many of these opportunities will be met by replacements and substitutions with look-alike, cook-alike, and eat-alike properties, for which labelling and warnings will require special attention and control. The aversions may be based on firmly-attested clinical grounds implying acute sensitivity in the consumer’s intakes to rarer and little understood origins associated with religious and “ethical” restrictions entailing severe abstentions and frugality, especially when in combination and rigor to what may be classified as extreme and calling for polypill vitamin and mineral supplementation if adequate nutrition may be assured; or parnuts of suitable variants of products such as Complan may be valuable.
3. Some special groups in these categories requiring special attention would include:
a. Consumers of South Asian descent and Caribbean origin with a special tendency to metabolic syndrome and its consequences, for which dietary and bodyweight control are especially important. They are part of a large population of abstainers heeding the vigorous warnings of the Food Standards Agency enjoining prudent dietary and lifestyle reform.
b. Patients diagnosed as suffering from familial hypercholesterolemia or with other risks such as apoE4 genetics.
c. Sufferers from well-attested enteropathies associated with certain cereal proteins and milk sugar (lactose) and proteins.
d. Consumers undergoing growth spurts or disturbances and personality problems problems prompting restrictions such as anorexia, bulimia, and pica that result in irreversible harm and impaired catch up. Such populations would include adolescents and pregnant mothers and their offspring (as in DOHAD, Developmental Origins of Human Adult Diseases). Remedial nutritional adjustments must take account of age and gender and the speciation of particular nutrients: the fortification (as “mass medication”) of common foods such as flour with folate (with or without vitamin B12) illustrates nicely a challenge the FSA is currently facing.
e. Populations trending in a vegetarian fashion – as meat-reducers and dairy-free – to dietaries and abstentions in tune with the general wellbeing of the environment and of all its inhabitants. Such observances would comprehend the extremes of veganism, raw food regimens, macrobiotics, and Rastafarianism. Instances of such ill-advised extremes may result in court orders to take babies from their parents owing to malnutrition of the baby and prosecutions of the parents (Munchhausen by proxy).
Warning - Untested OTM heifer enters the food chain
An Over Thirty Month old (OTM) heifer has entered the human food chain without being tested for BSE. Testing of bovine animals is mandatory in those intended for human consumption that are over 30 months at slaughter.
The heifer, which was 10 days over 30 months, had its specified risk material removed, i.e. those parts of the animal that would contain over 99% of any infectivity that would be present if the animal had BSE.
Meat from the heifer, which was slaughtered on the 1 November at Chris Trott and Family abattoir in Bishops Lydeard, nr. Taunton in Somerset, was sold as fresh meat over the counter at the Rumwell Farm Shop in Rumwell, nr. Taunton.
The meat was also used to produce a small number of ready meals, including lasagne, pies and chilli con carne which were sold at the same farm shop. The 'best before' dates for the products were 20-23 November 2006. You should not be concerned if you suspect that you have eaten any of the affected products because the risk to health is extremely low.
Customers of the shop were advised that the products were not suitable for freezing, and therefore it is likely that all the food has been eaten. However, if consumers still have these items at home in the freezer they should contact the farm shop where they bought them.