Savouring Our Salad Days. Food Writers in the Soup
Testing, testing, testing… we are always assessing the weekly recipes for inclusion in our contributions to the Portfolio of eating plans to give tasty effect to the expert advice uttered by nutritionists, medics, health professionals, and authorities such as the Food Standards Agency. When better, then, than a look at what’s on offer for veggies in the season of Salad Days, which still has 5 or 6 weeks to run at full strength.
Where better, then, to turn to than the Independent on Sunday’s Living Food section in its Magazine dated 8th July for inspiration and a trial of a worked example. Skye Gyngell seems an obvious choice, because she writes every week as the head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond, Surrey and she is the author of the 2007 Guild of Food Writers’ Cookery Book of the Year.
Moreover, for our purposes, she appears to excel in boasting a food cupboard dominated by grains and pulses. “We’ve got a huge variety of dried beans from Spain known as arrocina, a plump taupe bean called zolfini from Tuscany, beautiful pale-brown lentils from Umbria, faro and polentas from just outside Venice. And, last but not at all at least, chickpeas”. The “mighty chickpea” sets “Skye Gyngell’s heart racing” with “its gentle, nutty flavour, and its wonderful affinity with chillis, lemon juice, and herbs”. Chickpeas are that “one pulse” with the “gently, nutty flavour of chickpeas and the way they sit so comfortably with the heat of chillis, lemon juice, garlic, and tahini paste to form a rough type of houmous eaten on toast or simply with flat bread”...
“The current de facto import ban on corn gluten feed will add £60-90m to the feed costs of EU livestock farmers at a time when feed grains are already at record prices”, states Pedro Correa de Barros, president of the EU feed manufacturers body FEFAC. “A similar ban on soya meal imports will have devastating consequences for European livestock producers, wiping out entire pig and poultry production chains in the EU”. He is quoted in The Economist Impact of unapproved GMOs on EU feed imports and livestock production (which is on the European Commission website and reviewed in Animal Pharm, 27/07/07, number 618).
Data emerging from the report are cited as a warning that the EU’s cautious approach to authorising the import of GM feed materials means that it is in danger of severely constraining its intensive livestock industries. For example, there could be a 35% cut in pig production and 44% drop in poultry output in the EU within 3 years.
The report from the European Commission’s Directorate for Agriculture and Rural Development warns that there is a rapid uptake of GM varieties of corn (maize) and soya in North and South America, the major exporters of these commodities. The EU, a traditional importer of feed materials, risks running short of supplies unless that there is sufficient non-GM material available for export to the EU. There follow some telling data on the sources of concentrates used in feeds intended as imports into the EU.
Europe needs to import between 2.5 to 4 million tonnes of maize grains and the same quantity of corn gluten feed each year. About 45% of the grain comes from Argentina, Brazil, and the USA. The USA provides nearly all of the gluten feed. Soyameal imports total 34 to 35m tonnes annually, mainly from Argentina and Brazil; the USA and Paraguay are also important sources.
God Gives the Tunes, The Devil Writes the Words - Something to Die For
Solemnizing thanksgiving for the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, last week opened with the introit O Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the world, grant them rest, and proceeded, perhaps sheepishly, to the second hymn, the ever-useful 23rd Psalm to the tune Crimond. The doggerel is worth notice, even if many preachers and congregations give it scant attention.
The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; he leadeth me
The quiet waters by
My soul he doth restore again
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness
E’en for his own name’s sake
Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale,
Yet I fear no ill;
For thou art with me, and thy rod
And staff me comfort still
My table thou has furnished
In presence of my foes;
My head thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows
Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God’s house for evermore
My dwelling-place shall be.
Words from another and contemporaneous source put these sentiments in a different way: “Hopes return for lamb after woes” and it pronounces good news – “people are buying more lamb”...
E. Coli O157 has claimed another death and two other people are seriously ill after an outbreak of food poisoning linked to delicatessen counters at two branches of Morrisons supermarket in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. The disabled 66-year-old woman's husband, aged 72, is one of those in hospital. Four other patients, including an 86-year-old woman, are recovering at home as a result of the infection. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde attributed the source of the infection to cold meat counters at Morrisons stores in Falside Road and Lonend. The woman died on Monday morning at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. Her husband is being treated in Glasgow's Victoria Infirmary. Shares in the supermarket chain plunged after Morrisons, which has 368 stores across Britain and made profits of £330m last year, said that it had withdrawn sliced cold meat from delicatessen counters in two stores.
News has also been received of contamination with E.Coli of the water supply to a housing estate in North Dublin in the Irish Republic. Discovery of the bacteria in the system has led to warnings to residents to boil mains water before use...
Challenging Big Pharma is Kids’ Stuff to Anzacs. GSK Surrender over Ribena
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the biggest food and drugs companies, has been fined NZ$ 227,500 (£83,333) for making misleading claims over vitamin C levels in Ribena. GSK had claimed that Ribena syrup contained 4 times more vitamin C than oranges, but in 2004 two high-school students carried out tests in a science lesson and found that levels of the nutrient in the product were “much lower” (The Grocer 31 March 2007).
The 14-year-old students had tested the blackcurrant cordial in 2004 against rival brands in school experiments and comparisons. They found “almost no vitamin C” (The Guardian 27 March 2007) in ready-to-drink Ribena, whereas another brand’s orange juice contained “almost 4 times more”. The students, Anna Devathasan and Jenny Suo, were studying at Packuranga College in Auckland, New Zealand.
“The blackcurrants in Ribena have 4 times the vitamin C of oranges” run advertising claims for the beverage, so the perplexed students wrote to GSK for an explanation. Their first letter received no response, but they persisted by phone. They were given short shrift: their enquiries received only vague answers. However, a TV consumer affairs program, Fair Go, took up the story, recommending reference of the results to the Commerce Commission, a government watchdog.
The government body upheld the students’ finding and interpretations, confirming that ready-to-drink Ribena contained no detectable level of vitamin C, although blackcurrants have more vitamin C than oranges. As a result GSK found themselves in Auckland on 27 March facing 15 charges relating to misleading advertising and risking fines of up to NZ$3m (£1.1m). They actually incurred a lower penalty, but the firm’s corporate responsibility and reputation had been dealt a severe blow...
“Maggot Pete” Jumped Bail 4 Years Ago. Returns to 5 Years’ Trial
A business man who fled Britain after supplying the food chain with infested meat has been imprisoned after a Europe-wide hunt. He is Peter Roberts, aged 73, nicknamed Maggot Pete. He had escaped to a life of luxury, relaxing in a villa with a swimming pool, after master-minding the biggest-ever fraud of its kind.
He supplied supermarkets, schools, old people’s homes, and hospitals with chicken and turkey “fit only to be made into pet food or fertilizer”, according to the Meat Trades Journal (31 August 2007). Dangerously substandard meat was churned out by his company Denby Poultry Products of Denby, near Derby. “Its run-down factory was infested with rats and frequently flooded by sewage and was known by disgusted locals as ‘the knacker’s yard”...