Australians prefer more expensive local produce over cheaper Asian imports


It’s an issue of perception of food safety, and it appears that there are studies to back up the claim that Australians can be “racist” when it comes to buying food.

The origin of animal products and fresh fruit and vegetables was considered more important… than the origin of packaged food…

Our research seems to show there is a hierarchy when it comes to perceptions about food safety, with Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the USA at the top and Thailand, China and Vietnam at the bottom. [“When it comes to food, Australians are racist against Asia”]

A very First World concern, I must say. [Read more…]

Why you should choose butter over vegetable oil


So hard to unlearn and disbelieve a lot of lies we grew up with. Such as, for instance? That animal fat, including butter, is unhealthy so we should stick to vegetable oils. Not true, according to the article “The ugly truth about vegetable oils (and why they should be avoided)” which really makes a lot of sense.

Makes me think of the awful, AWFUL show on The Food Network called Hungry Girl where the fundamental belief is that to eat healthy, it is ideal to use “substitutes” in lieu of natural ingredients to keep the calorie count low. Sugar substitute, egg substitute, dairy substitute… The substitutes are, of course, all non-natural food products. What a screwed perception of healthy cooking and eating. [Read more…]

Mexican avocados and the drug cartel


Much as we’d all like to support legitimate farmers everywhere, stories about avocado plantations in Mexico being used as front to launder drug money can make one squeamish about buying and eating Mexican avocado (not that I have to, really — it’s a good thing that we grow avocados in the Philippines and we don’t have to import them). Still…

there’s a dark story lurking beneath the surface of the fleshy green fruit—and the bowls of guacamole it produces. A drug cartel known as the Caballeros Templarios, the Knights Templar, has infiltrated the avocado sector, and now controls the local trade, from production to distribution…

… rich drug traffickers have purchased avocado plantations to launder money or to make legitimate profits.

It’s quite a horrific story of extortion, kidnappings and death threats. See “Blood Avocados”: The Dark Side of Your Guacamole.

If you buy milk products imported from Taiwan, read this

milk2From Taiwan News:

Traces of banned drugs were found in milk from four producers with a 70 percent market share in Taiwan… The substances found in the products included medicine for cattle use, antibiotics, anti-depressants, contraceptives and plasticizers…

In addition to pure fresh milk products, the drugs were also discovered in some types of chocolate, papaya, cocoa and malt dairy drinks…

Stock photo from Stock.Xchng

Deep roots of Asian cuisine in Australia

dumplingsIf an article in The Australian is to be believed, the best Asian food is in Australia. But then we have to give allowances for “nationalistic” bias — the article, after all, was written by an Australian for an Australian publication and is meant primarily to promote both Australia and Australian cooking. The article is not even an isolated marketing campaign. There really is a move to highlight Australia as a melting pot for Asian cuisines as well as an Asian food bowl.

Not that the campaign is entirely baseless. The past 50 years saw the influx of Asian immigrants to Australia and all of them brought their cuisines with them. [Read more…]

Toxic teabags

pot-green-tea-4An article, “What’s in your mug? The toxic truth about tea”, has a table that dissects popular tea brands for the presence of pesticides and GMOs, among others. I note the inclusion of Lipton and Twinings, and I wondered if people understood what “tea” meant. To be more precise, I presumed that most people understood that what’s in a teabag is not always tea or, at best, that the contents of a teabag is not always a hundred per cent tea.

Tea is Camellia sinensis. Just because something is contained in a teabag does not make it real tea. Fruit-flavored tea, for instance, often contains a token amount of tea leaves and a lot of flavorings that include fruit peels. “Herbal teas” are not really tea but leaves other than Camellia sinensis.

So, when the contents of a teabag are tested for amounts of pesticide, artificial flavorings and GMOs, it isn’t just the tea that is being tested (if the teabags contain real tea at all) but also the rest of the ingredients that may include dried flowers, spices and fruit peels. And to say that “tea” may be dangerous to your health on the basis of testing the contents of teabags can’t be the most accurate claim. I mean, which among the various ingredients in a teabag is pesticide-laden?

To be fair, there is a disclaimer at the end of the linked article that the company that did the research has clients and/or investors who stand to gain from the result of the study.