Friday, March 8, 2013

What I've been reading about these past two weeks

As I'm sure you all know by now, there's been a great scandal here in the EU about horse meat appearing in foods that have specified they are 100% beef, 100% lamb or a mix of 50-50 Lamb/Beef. Including some halal foods. And depending on the sect of Islam that one is in, halal can vary as to whether horse is halal or not.
Sufficed to say, I've been watching in horror as we cannot afford kosher meat or the trip to get any, and we cannot go meat free due to our dietary needs and my celiac being so bad.  So far, none of the foods we eat have been affected, praise G-d, but it is still quite frustrating nonetheless.

While testing all of their meat products, Iceland found out that some of their meat pies are vegetarian... not 100% beef. (cue maniacal giggling from me)

... his team did not find any horse meat ... one brand of locally produced beef pie ...contained no meat at all.
... "It was labeled as beef pie, so it should be beef pie."
Yahoo News
Four new products tested positive for horse in the UK. Taco Bell and another fast food chain have been affected.

"The affected products are Birds Eye's Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese and Beef Lasagne - which the company took off shelves last week as a precaution; Brakes' Spicy Beef Skewer; Taco Bell's Ground Beef."

"Horsemeat was first discovered in January in frozen burgers on sale in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and since then traces have been discovered in processed beef products and prepared meals across the EU.
A first wave of tests the UK found horsemeat in some products sold by Aldi, Co-op, Findus, Rangeland and Tesco.
Subsequent rounds of testing revealed ...some products sold by Asda, Sodexo - which supplies food to schools, care homes and the armed forces - and the Whitbread Group.
Last week Ikea withdrew a batch of frozen meatballs from sale..."

Then I found this gem from Deutsche Welle:
"Food labs usually only check meat for what they suspect might be in it - a lot could pass unnoticed. Now, German researchers have come up with a single test for meat products to identify as many as 50 different animals."

"The greatest advantage of the new technology is that everything can be traced. The disadvantage: the smallest amount of contamination can be a problem."
Deutsche Welle

Then, breaking news goes out to tell us about an organic egg scandal here in Germany. Lots of farms are not doing their hens as free range or even feeding them organic, and the oversight committees only go and check in on these farms one or two times a year. That explains why sometimes my eggs were looking very anemic and not organic free range. This is so upsetting, as we are paying upwards of 2-2,50€ per package of 10 eggs. No, they do not come in a dozen here in Germany. Don't ask me why, I don't know. I guess that never caught on.

Here is the IFOAM press release. It really does not give a lot more news than what they're releasing here so far. Basically the low down is that everything is done by paper, and the FSA comes in 1 or 2 times a year to look in on the farm. They may or may not inspect closer.

"Chickens and their eggs can only be described as free-range if each animal has access to at least four square metres of space, while the description organic, or "bio" in German, requires further specific conditions."

"About 150 farms in Lower Saxony and 50 more in other German states are now under scrutiny."

"Joyce Moewius of the German Association of the Organic Food Industry (BÖLW) says she believes the problem has been that farms have kept too many chickens, rather than that eggs have been declared retrospectively as coming from the wrong kind of farm."
"In addition to the EU organic seal, several associations, such as Bioland, Demeter or Naturland, offer their own standards, which are above those of the EU."

Deutsche Welle

"The German state of Lower Saxony appears to be the centre of the alleged scam but Roland Herrmann, an investigating prosecutor, said that scale of the operation was "nationwide," and that anybody found guilty faces up to six months behind bars."
The Telegraph UK

"In 2012, the number of chickens kept as free-range increased by 8.9 percent and as organic -- out in the open -- by 8.7 percent. The number of chickens kept in battery farms however declined by 4.2 percent."
The Global Post UK

"Two years ago, a European Union-wide health alert was sparked when German officials said animal feed tainted with dioxin had been fed to hens and pigs, contaminating eggs, poultry meat and pork at affected farms."

I'm thinking this is where the FSA has to make good on claims of oversight... rather than coming down to a farm once a year, they need to go multiple times a year, and the physical paperwork that is filled out on the farm needs to go in computers on the same day.  But, that might make too much sense for those with purely bureaucratical minds.

On top of all of this, we get news filtered through The that there are issues with milk here in Germany having carcinogens in them.

"Hundreds of farms in Lower Saxony have been banned from selling milk in the latest food scandal to hit Germany, after authorities discovered thousands of cows had been given carcinogenic animal feed."

The source was traced back to 10,000 tonnes of a Serbian shipment of contaminated maize which found its way into animal feed delivered to 3,560 farms in Lower Saxony, including 938 dairy farms, the state's Agriculture Ministry said on Friday."

I never found anything on Der Spiegel or Deutsche Welle, and it never was specified if this is an organic or conventional set of farms, and whether our milk has been effected and I need to move back to the organic non-homogenized variety I was previously getting before making so much milk kefir.  (I almost need my own cow to be honest!)

In the UK, there's been an outbreak of the Schmallenberg virus again. It affects cattle of all sorts, so I expect to see that come this summer and fall, our prices for lamb and beef has gone up, as well as woolen items.

"Cases of Schmallenberg have now been reported in all the counties of England and Wales, and in Northern Ireland.
Scottish farmers are on alert for the disease, which is carried by midges.
Some farms have suffered heavy losses of newborn lambs during the winter lambing season.
The latest figures from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency show the virus has been detected on 1,531 farms, in cattle, sheep, alpacas and goats."
In other news, Belgian opinion on the Seralini study differs from that of the ESFA, A GMO Poll (US) Finds Huge Majority Say Foods Should Be LabeledNigella Lawson will be doing a live video chat (Google Hangout), NBC is casting for "Food Fighters", a reality tv series.  Hawaii and Vermont made historic GMO Labelling progress, and Sygenta was charged for covering up cattle death due to GMO feed. There was an interesting news article that states: "Buying Local and Organic? You're Still Eating Plastic Chemicals" - wow... not sure how to process that one actually...

Someone had posted a link to the EWG's 2011 Meat Eater's Guide, which looks quite interesting. It seems we're doing OK with our levels of beef consumption, fish consumption and how little we eat lamb. Some of it doesn't apply since we're mostly grain free.

Doctor Mercola has a great article on the benefits of Coconut Oil, which reminded me to go and buy two more containers of organic coconut oil yesterday. So, thank you Dr Mercola for reminding me I was out of it before I started another batch of bone broth!!

And I found this hilarious (in a laugh so I don't cry kind of way) image posted to the Take Back Food community on Google+. What is so sad is, this is the truth for the US market.

Just in time for St Paddy's I saw this recipe for Paleo Spinach Tortillas posted to a community on Google Plus. They are gluten, dairy, corn and egg free. Thank G-d I finally found a tortilla press!!

Then someone posted a link to sushi made with quinoa. I had never thought to do that, but that would be great if you are on a paleo diet.

Today, I found this gem listed as free for kindle:

Also, I found a wonderful new idea for swift smoothie making and in addition to all of this, I've been working to get my own Pinterest feed up, begin tweeting again, I'm taking a Psychology course and all of my books are here finally, as well as helping out in a couple Google Plus Communities. I'm also trying to learn how to more effectively post recipes once I have my own to share on the blog. For now, I'll just keep to sharing recipe pairings from the blogs I've got mentioned in my blog list and from the cookbooks that I mentioned in a previous post.

What have you all been reading about this week?


  1. Ooo thanks for all the resources!

    Eating horse is normal here so the whole scandal in the west was a tad amusing BUT it's totally different when you ordered it!

    From the comment club

    1. It's definitely shocking when you're trying to keep kosher. Horse definitely isn't that. ;)