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Food Sunday: Food News You Can Use

More on Food Fraud: “Fan, also known to his U.S. clients as "Michael Fan," was arrested for allegedly conspiring to illegally import honey that was deliberately mislabeled to avoid U.S. anti-dumping duties, according to statements in the criminal charges filed by Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation in Chicago.

Fan is the president of Blue Action Enterprise Inc., a California-based honey import company, and also heads several similar companies, including 7 Tiger Enterprises Inc., Honey World Enterprise Inc. and Kashaka USA Inc., the court papers said. The charges against him allege his involvement in 96 shipments of Chinese honey falsely declared as originating in South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.” The issue with Chinese honey stems not only from anti-dumping, but also Chinese beekeepers’ heavy use of antibiotics in their hives, and the contamination of honey. This is why they seek to sneak Chinese honey into the US under false labeling.

From , ‘Not Craw – Craw!” school of food ingredient identifications”: “Andrew Briscoe, the president and chief executive of the Sugar Association Inc., told Reuters linking sugar to obesity is misleading because most of the sweeteners used in the beverage industry are from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)."There has to be a scapegoat," said Briscoe, adding elimination of physical education programs in schools shares part of the blame by keeping children inactive.Briscoe said that according to data from the U.S. Agriculture Department and the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. per capital sugar consumption has fallen 40 percent since 1970."Sugar is not part of the problem," he said.”

Yes, Andrew – it’s not the’s the sugar… It’s Not the’s the sugar

And…back to China: “Investigations (by reporters from a Chinese newspaper) found that some bleaching agents widely used in flour production contained as much as 30 percent pulverized lime. Limestone is typically used in architecture in the United States and Europe. Pulverized lime is an inedible ingredient and when ingested, can lead to gradual damage of the lungs and eventually the entire respiratory system… Original reports were released in Legal Weekend, a publication under the official Legal Daily, which is a People’s Republic of China state-owned newspaper. Concerned local insiders gave the information to the media for fear that the material was a serious public health threat.

Following the release, reporters collected samples from the company and conducted follow-up tests on the materials. Tests confirmed that as much as 30 percent of pulverized lime is used in the bleaching agent.Usually made from cornstarch, bleaching agents are added to flour to shorten the time needed for whitening. By adding cheaper and heavier lime instead of cornstarch, the company cut the cost of production of the bleaching agent, which is sold by weight.”

Pulverized Lime in Chinese Wheat Flour

(Oh, and as a side note, the China International Food Quality and Safety Conference and Expo is scheduled for October 19-21, 2010 in Shanghai City, China. Everyone is going to want to put that one on their calendars right now)

And more on bees, courtesy of Rodale Institute: “Since the people of Piedras Negras have little of their own land to farm and depend on the brief coffee harvest to provide income for the whole year, they’ve looked for local, low-input alternative enterprises to strengthen their livelihoods.

Recently, they’ve taken to capturing and keeping wild bees on a shared patch of land, both to improve coffee yields and produce honey. Coffee plants are capable of self-pollination, so for a long time researchers did not think insects made much difference to the crop. But studies show that when bees pollinate coffee plants, yields can increase by more than 50 percent. Now these villagers are looking for more extensive training so this project can provide them the greatest benefit possible… Supporting them in learning more about bees is Sustainable Harvest International (SHI)—a Maine-based non-profit which has been promoting sustainable agriculture in farming communities throughout Central America since 1997. It is leading a training in May when it holds its first beekeeping workshop in El Cerron, Honduras, a community where farmers have some experience in beekeeping already that they are eager to share.
Bees and Coffee

Also, for anyone in the Eastern half of PA, NJ, Southern NY area, Rodale Institute has a full schedule of events, workshops and opportunities this year. The facilities are 5 miles east of Kutztown, PA

Workshops: Gardening workshops

Cold Crop Plant Sale — April 16/17: Spring Plant Sale

Warm Crop Plant Sale — May 7 2010 – 10:00am – May 8 2010 – 5:00pm
Warm Crop Sale

For those folks in New Jersey, Rutgers, Spring Plant Sale will be in May: Rutgers Plant Sale

For spring plant sales and other gardening events in your area, check with your state’s land grant college.

And, in Aunt Toby’s garden, we have had weather whiplash this past week, with temperatures in the 80s early in the week, and then storms late in the week which ushered in snow (I kid you not – probably a dusting, but cold enough to snow and also knock down the pollen and some of the bugs)on Saturday morning. However, as you can see from the photo of the seedlings under the glass, these guys held up under protection. The seedlings in the back are peas. The ones in the front are Kai Lan, Chinese Kale. Almost everything I planted is up in various stages of development. I dug over another bed so that when they are big enough to transplant (second set of leaves), I can just move them over and put row cover on them.

And, sad to say, we found out (much to the development of an extreme sense of creepiness) that due to the extremely early heat, the deer ticks are already out. For more information on what deer ticks look like, what Lyme Disease is all about and how important it is to protect yourself out in the garden, field, etc. go here:
Deer Ticks
Lyme Disease

A couple of notes we found out from our practitioner when the DH went down:

1) Deer ticks secrete a cement from their mouth parts when they start to do their eating thing on you. It’s not like they are going to bite you, get a meal and then leave.

2) To remove a deer tick, use a set of pointed (slant edge) tweezers and grip it at the point of insertion into the skin and pull (put into a Kleenex and a plastic bag to take into the doctor). If you see anything else in the wound, disinfect the tweezers and the wound area and try to clean out as much of that as you can; those are mouth parts. Keep clean, put antibiotic ointment on it and cover with a bandaid ™ and go see your medical folks. They will examine the wound, remove any other parts of the tick, etc. and Rx you a big honkin’ dose of antibiotic.

3) DO NOT try the ‘lit match to make them release’ trick. See (1) – they are cemented into you. And doing that will probably make them react and disgorge the bacteria into you. Ditto for trying to take it off by gripping it from the back end. That’s the repository not only for the blood from you but the disease bacteria.

Have a safe week – eat something clean and green.

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Snarky housewife from Upstate New York. Into gardening, fiber arts, smallholder farming.