Tags: Body & Mind, China, Food, health, technology
By Lu Chen
In ancient China, as the myths goes, the Emperor would use silver chopsticks to eat his food—because they would turn black if the food they touched contained poison.
Modern China now has an app for that: Smart Chopsticks, which promise to detect contaminated water, “gutter oil,” and chemicals in foods.
The product aims to respond to Chinese peoples’ general wariness about what they eat in the face of constant scandals of fake meat, gutter oil—that is, the stuff produced by underground workshops that use leftover oils and animal fats collected from the gutters outside restaurants—and chemical-laced rice and baby formulas.
Like the newest smartphone, the product was unveiled at a tech presentation held by Robin Li, the chairman and chief executive officer of Baidu Inc., China’s largest search engine. The chopsticks connect to a phone app using Bluetooth.
“Bringing Chinese people healthy living,” the slogan said at the Baidu Technology Innovation Conference in Beijing on Sept. 3.
“They can detect gutter oil,” Li said, to audience applause.
The device has three basic functions: it can analyze the quality of oil it touches and grade it superior, good, or bad. It can identify the pH levels, a measure of acidity or alkalinity, of liquids. Finally, it is supposed to be able to analyze the level of sweetness and even origin of fruits.
Data collected by the chopsticks is then beamed to the phone app, which analyzes the information and sends a conclusion to the chopsticks. An LED on the devices then lights up: blue means good quality, red means stay away.
Baidu released a video of the Smart Chopsticks on April Fool’s Day this year. The video went viral online, but was taken as a prank.
“But now we have the product made,” Robin Li said. Baidu hasn’t given a timeline for when it will be put on the market.
Reaction online was a mixture of excitement at the product and disappointment that such a product was necessary. “If the safety of our food is guaranteed, would we need something like these chopsticks??” wrote cheer_liu.
Food safety has become a major social issue in China in recent years. The regime on Wednesday announced prison sentences for up to eight years of 39 people in 17 food safety cases. They were guilty of adding chemical contaminants, like industrial salt, during the processing of meat, seafood, vegetables, and even medications. The court says one group produced and sold three tons of contaminated bean sprouts per day.
In 2013, police in the coastal city of Wenzhou uncovered 10 underground mills that used massive amounts of chemical additives and coloring agents to clean out-of-date meat and sell it to the public. The Ministry of Public Security in 2013 released a warning to consumers in Shanghai that recent lamb products may have been either rat, fox, or mink meat.
One of China’s biggest dairy companies, the Sanlu Group, was found to have produced baby formula containing melamine, a deadly chemical, in 2008. The poisoning led to the deaths of six babies and illnesses of over 300,000.
“There’s no food for us to eat,” wrote Internet user KathieCANke on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. “Everything’s poisoned.”
Tags: environmental issues, Food, GMO, Nature, Society, sustainable development
By Jonathan Benson, contributing writer to Natural News
No matter what personal views you might have on genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), these relatively new biological creations are wreaking havoc on both the environment and human health, as thoroughly demonstrated in the scientific literature. And here are seven concrete examples of why:
1) GMOs lead to superbugs and superweeds. There is no denying the massive ecological changes that occur as a result of GMOs and their respective growing chemicals. Farmers all across North America now face a steadily increasing onslaught of “superweeds” and “superpests” that have spawned as a direct result of biotechnology.
Among 13 major pests examined as part of a 2011 study published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, five of them were found to be completely immune to the poisons genetically implanted into Bt corn and cotton, for instance. And more recently, Brazilian farmers have reported that GMO corn is no longer resistant to pests.
2) GMOs are killing off our pollinators. GMO proponents often argue that, without biotechnology, the world would starve. But weedkillers and other chemicals applied to GMOs are killing off bees, butterflies and other pollinators that are vital in the production of one-third of the world’s food crops.
According to the latest data, honeybees, which are responsible for roughly 80 percent of the pollinating duties, are dying off at a rate of 30 percent per year. Neonicotinoids and other pesticides leave residues on crops, which are then picked up by pollinators, destroying their insides and causing them to eventually die. German professor Hans-Hinrich Kaatz told SPIEGEL ONLINE that GMO crop chemicals appears to alter bees’ intestines, making them highly susceptible to parasites and infections.
3) GMOs allow corporations to control life. With natural seeds, farmers are free to save and reuse them year after year in self-sufficiency. But GMOs require seeds to be repurchased year after year, placing control of food and life into the hands of a select few transnational corporations, who, since they maintain an oligopoly, can charge high prices and keep farmers in their servitude.
4) GMOs cross-contaminate natural crops. If GMOs could exist in their own private, agrarian bubbles, their threat to humanity might be containable. But because they grow in the open air alongside other natural and organic crops that require pollination, the threat of cross-contamination is almost certain, which means the entire global food supply stands to eventually become contaminated.
5) Accidentally growing GMOs is a crime. Believe it or not, biotech corporations like Monsanto have actually sued non-GMO farmers whose crops were damaged as a result of genetic drift. This is because GMOs are patented intellectual property, meaning they can’t be grown without permission and payment.
6) GMOs place an unmanageable burden of debt on farmers. Farmers are typically lured into growing GMOs based on empty promises of increased yields and fewer crop losses. But when this doesn’t pan out, they become locked into a system of debt that, especially in poorer countries, often leads to total bankruptcy. This is part of the reason why some 1,000 Indian farmers now commit suicide every month, as they are left with no way out but to pay the piper money that they don’t have.
7) GMOs destroy biodiversity, the life-force of our planet. The viability of our planet is dependent upon a rich stock of plant life that is varied, abundant and well-balanced within the confines of a biodiverse ecosystem. But GMOs are the antithesis of all this, perpetuating a system of unsustainable monoculture that breeds soil erosion, mineral loss and, ultimately, death.
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- 10 Worrying Facts About Genetically Modified Food
- The Most Common Genetically Modified Foods
- How to Avoid GMOs at the Grocery Store
- GMOs Have Never Been Proven Safe
Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health
By Dr. Frank Lipman, http://www.drfranklipman.com
Most of us believe that age related diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, adult onset diabetes, stroke, cancer, etc. are the inevitable consequences of aging, but we are now finding out that this is not necessarily true. We actually have a lot more control over how we age than you might think. Healthy aging is mainly the result of how we “communicate” with our genes – through our diet, our lifestyle and the environment we bathe them in.
Healthy habits nurture healthy genes.
When most of us think of genes, we think of the ones that determine particular characteristics such as whether we have brown hair, blue eyes or long legs, or those that predict specific childhood diseases. These are our genes that are “fixed” and are only few in number. By far the vast majority are the thousands of genes that direct all our biochemical processes that render us susceptible to the many chronic diseases so many people are experiencing today. While we are each born with a set of genes – a baseline set of conditions which we can’t change – we can change how they are expressed.
This means that most genes in and of themselves do not create disease. Rather the likelihood of developing disease and disability is determined by the way we live our lives and by the choices we make. You may have the genes for and be susceptible to heart disease or diabetes or arthritis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will get those diseases. In other words, these genes do not cause disease per se unless they are thrust into a detrimental environment, one conducive to expressing these genes as chronic disease.
There are multiple factors in your diet, environment and lifestyle that affect your genes and how you age. Many of these are within your control. Of all the factors, diet is the easiest to control and probably the most important determinant of how our genes are expressed.
A revolutionary new science, Nutrigenomics, is showing how different foods may interact with specific genes, how food “talks” to our genes and how our genes express themselves after the conversation. It is confirming that food provides potent dietary signals that directly influence the metabolic programming of our cells and modify the risk of common chronic diseases. It is telling us that food is information, that it contains “instructions” which are communicated directly to our genes.
Armed with this information, your genes commandeer various metabolic actions and affect millions of critical biological processes, including cholesterol levels, aging, hormone regulation, weight gain and loss, and much more. Eat the right foods and they will send instructions to your genes for good health. Eating the wrong foods however, sends messages for disease.
What we are finding out is that there is so much more to food than just the nutrients we have discovered thus far. Real food is packed with thousands of compounds which have a complex and dynamic relationship with one another and your genes. With processed foods however, these micronutrients have either been altered or are missing, and therefore they can never deliver the same beneficial messages to your genes. Just as a computer program won’t function well when it gets fed bad data, neither will your body. Once you understand that food is “data” or complex information that the body uses to direct the multifaceted actions that keep us vibrantly alive, it’s easy to understand that loading up on junk food is like taking the fast lane to a giant system failure.
Foods loaded with sugar, trans fats and chemicals, and foods processed beyond recognition, are simply “bad data” for human consumption. I call these “food-like substances” because they are not real food. If you eat these regularly, your body stops working properly.
It makes perfect sense, when you think about it. When you bathe your genes in an unhealthy environment, like the one created when you eat junk food, your genes “miscue”metabolic actions that can trigger disease. For example your body responds to “food-like substances” as if they are “foreign bodies.” This prompts an inflammatory response as your body tries to protect itself. Over time, continued consumption can lead to the development of a low grade chronic inflammatory condition which is now becoming recognized as an important precursor to a variety of more serious forms of illness. Bottom line: the food you eat affects the functioning of your genes.
Top 10 Tips for Eating for Your Genes
1) Eat real food i.e fresh, whole, unrefined and unprocessed food. Food is more than a delivery system for nutrients containing protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Real food is more than the sum of its parts, it’s about how it all works together, about the integrity of the information or the total message. Although you should know how to read food labels, most real food does not come with a label – vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grass fed meats, wild fish, organic eggs and chickens etc.
Read more: 10 Tips for Eating for Your Genes and Jeans
By Mike Adams, Naturalnews.com
When it comes to foods, superfoods and even nutritional supplements from China, “organic” is largely a hoax. This is my opinion, of course, but I’ve been researching the issue quite extensively as the key decision maker for new products in the Natural News Store. And I’ve come to the conclusion that “organic” from China is largely a fraud. Here’s why…
First off, you’re going to be shocked to learn that there is no limit to how much mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic and aluminum is allowed in “organic” products.
It’s a fact: USDA organic standards place NO LIMITS on levels of heavy metals contamination of certified organic foods. Even further, there is no limit on the contamination of PCBs, BPA and other synthetic chemicals that’s allowed in certified organic foods, superfoods and supplements.
At this point, you’re probably shaking your head in disbelief and thinking, “No, that can’t be true. Organic standards must check for heavy metals and chemical contamination, right?”
No! “Organic” certifies a process of how food is grown or produced. It certifies that the farmer doesn’t add pesticides, herbicides, petroleum-based fertilizer, metals or synthetic chemicals to the crop (among other things), and it certifies that the soil must be free from such things for a certain number of years before organic certification is approved.
But organic certification does nothing to address environmental sources of pollution such as chemtrails, contaminated irrigation water, and fallout from industrial or chemical factories that might be nearby. A certified organic farmer can use polluted water on their crops and still have the crops labeled “organic.”
For this reason: the environment in which organic foods are produced is critical to the cleanliness of the final product.
Organic farming in a clean environment produces clean, organic foods. But organic farming in a polluted environment produces contaminated organic foods. And China is one of the most polluted chemical cesspools on the planet. The pictures on the right show some scenes from China, a country suffocating under a pollution nightmare.
As you view these pictures, ask yourself: Would you eat food grown there? Even if it were sold by Whole Foods and labeled “organic?”
China is an environmental nightmare
China is a nation that has virtually no environmental regulation enforcement. In China, anything goes: You can dump mercury into rivers. You can spray raw human sewage sludge on crops. You can produce factory-made chemicals and blow the waste products right into the air through smokestacks. In China, many rivers are so toxic that, from time to time, they actually catch on fire and burn.
It’s so bad that a Chinese environmental official was recently offered over US$30,000 to take a 20-minute swim in a local river.
He DECLINED. Why? Because the river there is so polluted that swimming in it would mean certain death.
It is this water that’s often used in “organic” food and superfood production in China. So even though the farmer is following organic process standards, he may be using irrigation water that’s wildly contaminated with metals, chemicals and even pesticide residues. He may be spraying hormone drugs on the crops because there’s a pharmaceutical factory upstream.
Here’s the kicker: In a country with virtually no environmental laws, “organic” food production is largely a fraud because environmental sources contaminate the foods or superfoods being produced there.
There are some exceptions to this, by the way. Notably goji berries are grown at high altitude, far away from the pollution of China’s cities and rivers. Goji berries sourced from China tend to be very clean and have very low levels of contamination. There are no doubt other exceptions to the rule, but the difficulty is in knowing what to trust that comes out of China.
In North America, “organic” is legitimate precisely because North America has far more strict environmental standards. Organic is clean food, responsibly produced, and consistently less contaminated than conventional food. The same is true across Europe, where organic standards are also strict. But in China, “organic” is often a joke. Almost a hoax, in my opinion.
And the laboratory tests bear this out. For example, we just published an investigative story on chlorella showing that “organic” chlorella from China is polluted with nearly ten times the aluminum level of “organic” chlorella from Taiwan. And the cleanest chlorella we found in terms of metals contamination was actually a non-organic chlorella produced in Korea.
China is a nation that lacks Ethics
Remember, too, that China is a communist regime. It is a country where all religion has been outlawed and the people are never taught ethics or morality. They have no moral compass. Across China, the majority of the population believes that the best way to get ahead is to CHEAT, lie and steal, even if it means harming someone else in the process.
Remember: China is the country where they put melamine in infant formula, knowing that it will kill little children. China is the country where the paint on children’s toys contains obscene levels of brain-damaging lead. China is a nation of shortcut-takers who will doanything to cheapen a product as long as they can cover it up and trick the buyer. This is why “made in China” has, for decades, been synonymous with “crap quality.”
Here’s a little note that will interest pet owners: If you buy pet treats made in China, you are murdering your pet with the most insane chemicals imaginable. The stuff that goes into some pet treats made in China is highly toxic and causes cancer. This is one of the main factors behind the alarming rise of cancers among dogs and cats in North America.
All this isn’t just secondhand information, by the way: I lived in Asia for two years and traveled extensively throughout the region. I speak a fair amount of Mandarin (Chinese), and I’ve interacted with lots and lots of people from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. I can tell you that Taiwan is a country with much greater honesty, integrity and quality than China. In Taiwan, religion is allowed and openly practiced (Buddhism, mostly). In Taiwan, there is a sense of responsibility to customers. There is a philosophy of striving for quality. Taiwan is to China like revolutionary America was to the British Empire. Taiwan is a island nation of hard-working, creative, innovative entrepreneurs, and when I look to import products from Asia, I always try to find it in Taiwan first because I know Taiwan means quality.
But in China, it’s exactly the opposite: There is no sense of responsibility to customers. The overriding philosophy is to screw the customer, even on the very first order, knowing that the customer will never buy from you again! In China, the idea is to CHEAT people rather than make them happy. You see this all the way to the top of the government which is, of course, a police state communist regime where laws are enforced at gunpoint against a completely disarmed and helpless population that has no rights. China is a culture of corruption, deception and exploitation.
Now, of course, there are people in China who rebel against all this. There are exceptions to the rule, and there may even be some honest organic food producers in China that buck the trend. Not all mainland Chinese are bad people. Many wish to overthrow the corrupt government and restore freedom, liberty and justice to the country. But because they are all disarmed (China has no Bill of Rights), they are powerless against a dictatorial government. They are slaves to the system.
Health Ranger Select brand BANS all foods, superfoods and ingredients from China except for goji berries
I made a decision months ago to ban anything produced in China from my own label, with the exception being goji berries. If a food, superfood or supplement has my name on it, I will not use ingredients sourced from China unless I know and can VERIFY the end-product cleanliness of the product.
So if you see the “Health Ranger Select” brand or the “Storable Organics” brand, know that it’s clean and very carefully sourced.
We source from the USA, Canada, European countries, Peru and even Thailand for some ingredients. Mexico is acceptable for some ingredients as well. But China is a big red flag. I simply can’t trust that most foods, superfoods or supplements from China are going to be consistently clean and honest.
China is the kind of country where you order a sample of a raw material — say pomegranate juice powder — and the first batch you receive is really clean and passes all the lab tests. So you order 5000kg of the stuff, and when it arrives, it’s all full of lead and pesticides.
Chinese medicine herbs from China are notoriously contaminated with lead. The same is true for green tea and many other ingredients that naturally absorb heavy metals.
All sorts of products at Whole Foods, by the way, are grown in China but certified “organic.” What a joke.
Given that China has virtually no environmental enforcement whatsoever, the very idea that something grown in China can be certified “organic” is absurd. Without a clean environment, you can’t product clean food even if you follow organic growing standards.
So why do so many formulators and food companies in the USA still buy ingredients from China? Because they’re CHEAP.
Buying from China means higher profit
Here’s the dirty little secret of the natural products industry… and yes, the “dirty” is quite literal in this case: Raw materials from China are cheap! Across the board, raw materials (foods, superfoods, supplements) from China are about 1/4th the cost of materials grown in North America or Europe.
This means getting your ingredients from China grants your product a lot more profit in the marketplace. For those selling through Whole Foods — whose product shelves are littered with ingredients made in China — this profit margin is essential to economic survival.
If you’re buying a superfood powder sold at Whole Foods and paying $50 at retail, the actual ingredient cost that goes into that superfood canister is often as little as $5. So sourcing those materials from China is crucial to having the margins. Whole Foods might only pay your company $22 or so for a product they sell at $50. So your company has to buy the materials, pay for shipping, insurance, labor, packaging, formulations and everything else and still somehow make a profit to stay in business. So you source from China. You make a really nice-looking label, you get it “certified organic” with a nice USDA logo on it, and you sell it to Whole Foods which adds another layer of legitimacy to the product.
But inside the bottle, there could be mercury hiding in there. Or pharmaceutical residues. Or pesticide residues. Or just about anything, including melamine.
Now, obviously Whole Foods has a level of quality control in place, and they do require C of A’s for products they carry. But China is expert at FAKING these documents and tricking importers, formulators and manufacturers.
In China, the idea of forging a laboratory analysis document is no big deal. Fabricating fake documents is routine. You have to understand the philosophy of these people living without any code of ethics, surviving under a police state communist regime: There are no ethics. No values. No moral compass. Forging a fake lab report is no different to them than planting seeds: it’s just one more step needed to make money. There is no moral difference in their minds between telling the truth and lying. It’s a “relativistic” morality philosophy.
I’m not saying all people in China are liars and deceivers. But a lot of them are. Anyone who has actually lived there for any length of time knows exactly what I’m talking about. This is a country where deceptive manufacturers take white sesame seeds and coat them in toxic black ink just to sell them as “black sesame seeds.” This is a country where infant formula producers spike their formula with kidney-destroying melamine in order to make an extra five cents a pound, even while killing babies by the thousands. THEY DON’T CARE. China is a nation that has abandoned morality and even attacked it. This is a country where the Falun Gong group of meditation advocates and yoga practitioners is arrested and thrown in prison by an extremely oppressive, dictatorial government.
Look, cultures are different everywhere around the world. You want to hang out with really nice, intelligent and honest people? Get yourself some Dutch friends. They’re the most upstanding, moral, educated bunch of folks you’ll ever meet.
You want to hang out with highly-innovative rule followers? Get yourself some German friends. They follow the rules. And they’re smart, innovative people on top of that. Brilliant minds. Some of the greatest scientists in history came out of Berlin.
You want some friends who are wildly creative? Those are Americans. Americans make the best movies, the best music (well, along with UK musicians anyway), and a lot of the best computer software on the planet. Americans are rebels. They break the rules and forge a new path. America is a nation founded on rebellion.
But if you’re looking for people who will stab you in the back in a business deal, go the China. There, you will find the most back-stabbing, dishonest cheaters and liars you’ll probably ever meet, short of Nigera’s “Prince Nubula” whose emails promise you’ll receive a million dollars if you only send them $5,000 first.
Why you won’t hear this truth anywhere else
I know that telling the truth is unpopular and not politically correct. I’m not interested in winning a popularity contest. What I’m doing here is flat-out telling the truth that most other people are too afraid to say on their own: The very idea of “organic” coming out of China is a disturbing contradiction.
And organic standards have a huge gap in the fact that they don’t require foods to actually be free from mercury or other contaminants. Overall, organic is a wonderful standard and I’ve been a strong advocate of organic, but when a “USDA organic” label is slapped on a product grown in China, you really have to scratch your head and say, “Yeah, it might be organic, but is it clean?”
It may be, but you just don’t know until you test it. “Organic” grown in the USA can be assumed to be clean, but organic grown in China must be assumed contaminated unless proven otherwise.
Until China enforces some really strict environmental standards, “organic” from China is largely a fraud in my opinion. It’s a hoax. You can lie to yourself and say, “Well it’s ORGANIC so it must be clean!” but you’ll be swallowing mercury, lead, pesticides and other synthetic chemicals in various amounts.
Laboratory tests confirm everything I’m telling you here. This is the dirty little secret of the organic food industry that nobody’s talking about.
China’s environmental nightmare
Just how polluted is China’s environment? As I mentioned above, it’s so bad that a Chinese environmental official was recently offered over US$30,000 to take a 20-minute swim in a local river. He declined the offer, as would any sane person.
Are these the same rivers that are being used to produce “organic” crops in China? You have to wonder. A river can be so inundated with smelting factory runoff and chemical pollution that even bacteria struggle to survive in it; yet this water can be legally sprayed on crops that are exported to America as “organic.”
If you buy “organic” foods, superfoods or supplements grown in China, you need to know about this.
As The Guardian reports:
“A recent government study found that groundwater in 90% of China’s cities is contaminated, most of it severely. The head of China’s ministry of water resources said last year that up to 40% of the country’s rivers are “seriously polluted”, and an official report from last summer found that up to 200 million rural Chinese have no access to clean drinking water.”
By the way, this is another story altogether, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that China is headed for an environmental collapse. The country has polluted itself far beyond the point of long-term sustainable life. Children are being born as mutants. Rivers support no fish life. Soils are building up obscene levels of contaminants and becoming so toxic that crop yields are affected. Cities are so filled with airborne pollution that the mere act of breathing causes cancer. And on top of that, China’s one-child policy has resulted in mass gendercide where baby girls are routinely — and yes, I mean ROUTINELY — murdered, drowned, suffocated, etc., because the family wants a son, not a daughter.
In its quest for economic power, China has poisoned itself to death, and now it’s only a matter of time before the nation collapses in a cesspool of toxicity and lies. The economic “boom” of China is nearly over, and it will be followed by an environmental implosion so huge and disgusting that the world will be absolutely horrified. Remember: China is so corrupt that it won’t stop factories from openly dumping toxic waste directly into the groundwater supplies. Instead of acknowledging the source of pollution, Chinese officials simply accept bribes and cover it up. The corruption in China is so deeply rooted in the culture that honesty and accountability can never overcome the deception.
With some exceptions, when you buy food grown in China, you are buying food produced in the most toxic environment on planet Earth, grown by some of the most deceptive and most corrupt liars and back-stabbers on the planet, all ruled by one of the most dictatorial and tyrannical governments history has ever known. That about sums it up.
Ultimately, China has a terminal environmental crisis on its hands, compounded by an eternally corrupt, dictatorial communist regime government that oppresses freedom and outlaws religion while forcing families to kill their own baby girls under its population control mandates.
In summary, China suffers from:
• An environmental nightmare
• An almost complete abandonment of morals and integrity
• A deeply corrupt communist police state political system that mandates the mass murder of baby girls
Is this the vibe you really want to be putting into your body?
Originally published by http://www.naturalnews.com
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By Jamie Doward and Amy Moore
Organised gangs are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of technology to perpetrate widespread food fraud, according to experts.
A rise in criminal targeting of the food and drink sector is being blamed on the huge mark-ups that can be made by passing off inferior products as premium goods, coupled with the fact that there is little oversight and lenient penalties for those caught.
Concerns about the role organised crime is playing in the endemic diluting of virgin olive oil has seen the UK government appoint a specialist testing company to establish if the grade declared on the label is genuine. Olive oil is recognised by the EU committee on the environment, public health and food safety as the product most at risk of fraud by gangs, in particular Italian crime syndicates. Other foods attracting the interest of organised crime, according to the committee, include fish, milk, honey and rare spices such as saffron.
The committee has warned that it “is concerned about signals indicating that the number of cases is rising and that food fraud is a growing trend reflecting a structural weakness within the food chain.” In a draft report, it claims that “recent food fraud cases have exposed different types of food fraud, such as replacing key ingredients with cheaper alternatives, wrongly labelling the animal species used in a meat product, incorrectly labelling weight, selling ordinary foods as organic, unfairly using origin or animal welfare quality logos, labelling aquaculture fish as wild, counterfeiting and marketing food past its use-by date.”
Hilary Ross, a lawyer who specialises in food security issues and has contributed to the government’s forthcoming Elliot review into the integrity of the UK’s food chains, produced in response to the horsemeat scandal, said that the nature of the threat posed by criminal gangs to the food chain was changing.
“In terms of criminal activity they are becoming ingenious,” she said. “If one thing is detected they move on to another. But there is not one magical science cure that tests for everything. You have to know what you are looking for.”
By Margaret Trey, Ph.D.
The ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang may sound obscure and difficult to understand for many of us living in the West. Yet when we understand a few basics about the yin and yang nature of foods, we can put our knowledge to very practical use, such as weight loss and cutting cravings.
Let us begin with the story about Doreen (not her real name), who was one of my regular clients years ago. One time, upon my return from a three-week vacation, she came to see me saying she felt bloated and was experiencing difficulty focusing on her job at a stock exchange.
Her body was indeed very bloated around the abdomen. I asked what she had been doing, and she promptly told me that she was trying to lose weight. She had been going to the gym, attending yoga classes, and had put herself on a weight-loss diet. But despite these efforts, she found her yoga leggings were feeling even tighter in the waist.
I asked Doreen what she had been eating. “Oh, very healthy foods,” she replied.
To get a more precise response, I asked Doreen what she had eaten for dinner, lunch, and breakfast the day before, and she said she had eaten mainly fruits, like watermelons, pineapples, mangoes, apples, and grapes, as well as lots of salad.
According to yin-yang philosophy, raw and cold foods are both yin. The nature of yin energy is relaxing but also expansive, which was evident in her expanded belly. Another symptom of an expanded yin condition is the inability to focus.
I told Doreen that if she really wanted to get rid of her distended feeling and to lose the weight around her waist, she should immediately stop her raw-food diet.
To help normalize her yin condition, I recommended she eat more yang foods such as different types of whole grains, sea vegetables, miso, sea salt, and root vegetables, and that she cook her food. This diet worked. Once she found the right balance of yin and yang foods, her bloating disappeared, and she felt much better.
Yin and Yang Qualities of Foods
You can use the chart below to help you understand the yin and yang qualities of foods.
Farther away from the equator
Texture and Shape
Light and soft
Less dense/Loose structure
Rapid (less time to grow)
Thrive in hot weather
Taste and Nutrients
Higher in potassium
Lower in sodium
Greens and whites
Season and Cooking Style
Compact or small
Nearer to the equator
Texture and Shape
Dark and hard
More dense/Tight structure
Slow (more time to grow)
Thrive in cold weather
Taste and Nutrients
Lower in potassium
Higher in sodium
Reds and oranges
Season and Cooking Style
When you learn to identify the yin and yang characteristics of foods you, it can help you choose foods that best support your genetic disposition, existing constitution, and lifestyle. This includes the location you live. For example, if you live in a cold temperate region, it is best to go easy on coconut oil, which is more suited for the tropics or warmer climates.
To determine if a food is more yin or more yang, there are four important factors to consider:
• Where it grows: Does it grow near the equator or in a cool temperate climate?
• How it grows: Does it grow fast or slowly? What direction does it grow in?
• Sodium and potassium content: How much sodium does it have compared to the amount of potassium?
• Warming and cooling: What effect does it have on the body? Does it warm or cool the body?
Yin foods have a cooling effect. They are larger, have more potassium, and grow above and away from the ground. Yang foods have a warming effect, are more compact and smaller, have more sodium, and grow beneath the ground.
It is important to remember that the dietary needs and requirements of different people living in different parts of the world will be different based on climate. So wherever you live, consider eating foods that were eaten by the traditional societies and communities who lived there.
Also, whenever possible, choose foods that are wholesome, not irradiated, genetically modified, or contaminated with chemicals or pesticides. Buy organic, locally grown, and in-season foods to maximize your nourishment.
How to Balance
According to ancient Taoist philosophy, good health is a state in which the opposing and interconnected forces of yin and yang are balanced in the body. So, if you are naturally more yin, you should eat more yang foods, and when you become more yang, you can eat more yin foods.
Most people need to eat both yin and yang foods to achieve balance. When your yin and yang energies are balanced, you will feel calm, and your moods won’t bounce up and down like a yo-yo.
If you, like Doreen, eat a lot of fruits and green leafy salads, which are all foods grown above and away from the ground, you may become yin, cold, unfocussed, and have trouble completing tasks. Simply eating more root vegetables, whole grains, and fish and less cold salads, sugar, and fruits will help you to regain balance.
And if you eat too much yang food, you may feel uptight, stressed, overly focused, and unable to relax. To correct this imbalance, it is better to eat foods toward the center of the Yin and Yang Food-Balance Chart. This includes whole grains, vegetables, and locally grown fruits.
Likewise, it is important to match different cooking methods with different seasons. Do more light cooking in summer and on warmer days, and more baking, pressure-cooking, stewing, and nishime dishes with root vegetables in winter and on colder days.
During summer or if you live near the equator, it is fine to eat tropical fruits, such as watermelons and coconuts, which are more yin. If you live in the tropics, eating too much meat and other yang foods may make you feel contracted and uptight. However, for those living in cold climates, like the Inuit, eating mostly yang foods, such as meats, helps the body to stay warm.
Understanding the yin and yang energies of foods will help you to understand how to use food as natural medicine. You will know that it is better to have warm miso soup (yang) than to have cold tropical juice or fruit if you have an inflamed throat or swollen glands, which generally indicate a yin condition.
A Balanced Diet Cuts Cravings
Chemicals, alcohol, and sugar are on the extreme yin end of the fulcrum. Salt, eggs, and red meats are on the extreme yang. Whole grains, various kinds of vegetables, nuts, and white-fleshed fish are in the middle of the spectrum. When we crave foods, it’s usually the foods at either ends of the spectrum—be it chocolates or salty snacks.
Cravings are a way your body talks to you. It is the body’s natural way of seeking balance. If you eat more foods on one end of the spectrum, you will crave foods on the other end of the chart. For instance, if you eat a lot of salty yang foods, your body will crave sweets and sugar to balance itself.
Traditional meals often have a good yin-yang balance. For example, meats (yang) are traditionally served with wine (yin), and tempura or fried foods (yang) are served with a dainty dish of grated daikon (yin). So the next time you eat something extremely yang, remember to balance it with something yin.
It is best to eat the foods toward the center of the fulcrum of the balance chart. If possible, avoid or reduce your intake of sugars, and use salt sparingly. The key is moderation and choosing foods that maintain balance.
Taking Care of Ourselves
Most of us work and study hard and find it is easy to neglect caring for ourselves.
We often do not give ourselves adequate time to relax, eat wholesome meals, and do the things that truly recharge us. The longer we live an unbalanced lifestyle, the more difficult it is to regain our equilibrium.
Fortunately, the human body is resilient and can bounce back from the stresses and challenging life situations. Choosing to eat foods that help to restore our health and vitality can greatly support recovery, improve our lifestyle, and bring balance into all aspects of our lives.
If you are looking for inspiration to start your journey, you can read some of the other articles I wrote about how different foods can be used as natural remedies to restore health and balance. To find these articles, simply type my name into the search field at TheEpochTimes.com.
Some past article topics were: How apples can alleviate mild food poisoning and remove gallstones, how carrots and daikon can dissolve solidified fat deposits, how lotus root can help get rid of mucus, how adzuki bean tea can revitalize and tonify the kidneys, and how sweet vegetables can help curb sugar cravings.
Dr. Margaret Trey has a doctorate in counseling from The University of South Australia. Also trained in oriental medicine, shiatsu, and macrobiotics, Dr. Trey is a wellness advocate, counselor, and researcher focusing on the positive effects of meditation.
How sweet it is! It appears that researchers have struck gold—liquid gold—in their research work at Waikato Honey Research Unit, Waikato University, New Zealand, on the use of honey applied topically to wounds. Research findings confirm that honey, long used in folk medicine, can be more potent than antibiotics and free of side effects.
Peter Molan, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry, heads the Waikato Honey Research Unit. He cites the story of a patient’s wound that had persisted for 20 years. Infected with a strain of bacteria resistant to antibiotics, an English woman’s armpit continually oozed from an abscess long after it had been drained. Nothing seemed to help, and the pain prevented her from working.
In August 1999, she read about the wound-healing properties of honey. She persuaded doctors to apply honey as a poultice to the wound, and a month later the wound was completely healed. She has been able to work since then.
In other tests, scientists applied well-known varieties of honey, such as manuka from New Zealand and jelly bush from Australia. Both are available for medicinal purposes; unfortunately, hospitals rarely use them. The Sydney study confirmed that honey can effectively replace antibiotic wound creams. As one physician put it, “Honey can be considered alternative medicine.”
Several medical studies, including one from researchers at the University of Sydney, have verified honey’s efficacy in healing wounds and curing infections when used topically.
Sydney scientists confirmed what has been known for thousands of years: Honey has profound healing properties. Jars of the liquid-gold elixir have been found in a Pharaoh’s tomb. (One stash, unearthed thousands of years later, was found to be quite fresh.)
The ancient Greeks and other peoples throughout the ages have used honey. Until World War II, honey, with its bactericidal properties, was used in the treatment of wounds. With the arrival of penicillin and other antibiotics in the 20th century, honey’s medicinal properties were forced to take a backseat. But that may soon change.
Australian researchers have disclosed one possible explanation for the potent antimicrobial properties of honey. The University of Sydney Medical School’s Dr. Shona Blair has found that applying diluted honey to a moist wound produces hydrogen peroxide, a known antibacterial agent. The group’s research further demonstrated that honey is powerful even against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Scientists are still trying to get to the root of honey’s germ-fighting properties and speculate that one of honey’s components, methylglyoxal, modifies other components in the honey, thus preventing bacteria from triggering the release of new, honey-resistant strains. Thus far, their specific research has used honey harvested from bees that frequented tea tree bushes and trees— shrubs and trees of the genus Leptospermum, which is native to Australia and adjacent areas.
Honey applied topically is also known to reduce edema. Edema increases the deterioration of purpuric skin lesions that may lead to necrosis. Honey applied in the early stages of meningococcal skin lesions may be helpful. Additionally, reports of honey’s effectiveness in the treatment of gangrene suggest it could play a beneficial role in reducing the number of amputations resulting from meningococcal septicemia.
When used on burns, honey reduces scarring. I can attest to this from my own experience. During a recent cooking stint, carelessness on my part resulted in my developing a huge blister on one of my fingers. Though I did not have bee honey that was a product of the tea tree shrub, I smeared fireweed honey on the blister. The burning subsided within a few minutes, and the next morning the blister had disappeared without a trace.
Never underestimate the healing powers of remedies derived from nature, like those good old traditional folk cures that have withstood the test of time—in honey’s case, for thousands of years.
With additional reporting by Christina Riveland.
From the above Web site: “The Honey Research Unit was set up in 1995, with financial support from the New Zealand Honey Industry Trust …”
By Michelle Yu
An aging population and growing focus on health in the United States has fueled the growth of a $28 billion vitamin and nutritional supplement market, and it is expected to continue to grow at about 3 percent a year.
Over half of American adults are popping vitamins and supplements. They may not be aware they are eating products made in China, or made using raw materials from China.
China has captured over 90 percent of the Vitamin C market in the United States, according to the Seattle Times. Think about how many labels advertise added Vitamin C. Vitamin C goes into many food and drink products—almost all processed food for humans as well as pets contains Vitamin C.
The consumer has no way of knowing the added vitamin C comes from China, because there is no rule requiring labeling the country of origin for ingredients.
This may raise quite a few eyebrows as Chinese food safety scandals make headlines every day.
Here are five facts any consumer of vitamins should know.
1. Only 2 percent of all imported vitamins and other supplements are inspected. Why? Vitamins and supplements are classified as “food” by law and therefore not subject to the tough regulatory scrutiny of prescription drugs.
2. China’s top vitamin and supplement production areas are among the most polluted in the country (and thus in the world).
Vitamins and nutritional supplements usually use agricultural products as key raw materials. The top vitamin exporting province, Zhejiang, has an alarming level of soil pollution from heavy metal. As matter of fact, one-sixth of China’s farmlands are heavily polluted.
For example, rice planted in several key agricultural provinces was reported to contain excessive Cadmium, a metal commonly found in batteries, coloring, and the industrial waste from making plastic. It may cause serious kidney disease.
Irrigation water is a nightmare: Half of the country’s major water bodies are polluted, as are 86 percent of city water bodies. Pollution is largely caused by the country’s numerous factories, which rarely have equipment for treating pollution. Seventy to 80 percent of the country’s industrial waste is directly emitted into rivers.
3. Even those labeled as “organic” are not safe, since USDA organic standards place no limit on levels of heavy metal contamination for certified organic foods.
4. Approximately 6,300 Americans nationwide complained about adverse reactions to dietary supplements between 2008 and 2012, according to FDA statistics. But the actual number may be more than eight times higher, some experts say, because most people don’t believe health products can make them sick. While not all such problems would be caused by pollution in China, that pollution may have played a role.
5. Worst of all, China-made vitamins are everywhere, and even those who do not consume vitamins and supplements can hardly escape. Many vitamins end up as ingredients in items like soft drinks, food, animal feed, and even cosmetics.
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By China Gaze
In China, food was traditionally considered to have medicinal qualities. Here are 20 foods that help the body detoxify. When preparation calls for juice, you can use a juicer if you have one or blend the ingredients with a little water in a good blender.
With their digestible fiber, sweet potatoes can facilitate bowel movement. The best way to eat them is baked and unpeeled.
Green beans can eliminate toxins, induce diuresis, and quench thirst. Green-bean soup can also help reduce swelling. Do not cook beans too long; otherwise, nutrients will be destroyed and the effects will be diminished.
Oats can relax the bowels, stimulate bowel movement, and detoxify the body. It is good to steam oats and then blend to make a thin drink. You can also add other ingredients to the mixture, such as an apple or raisins, which are also nutritious and promote elimination.
Barley is great for detoxification and as beauty aid. It can improve blood circulation, induce diuresis, and reduce swelling caused by edema. You can boil barley and eat it cooked. For a natural way to whiten your skin, boil barley, add a bit of sugar, and apply it externally.
A well-known ingredient in Chinese cooking, lotus root can purify the blood and act as a diuretic. Lotus root can be served hot or cold. You can juice it and add a bit of honey or you can heat it on low heat and then add a bit of sweetener and drink it while it is still warm.
Since it doesn’t contain gluten, millet doesn’t irritate the intestinal tract. It is mild and easy to digest, which makes it suitable to eat with other detoxifying foods. Millet gruel is very good for detoxification and inducing diuresis.
Whole, unmilled rice is rich in fiber. It can absorb water and fat and give you a feeling of fullness. It can also stabilize the digestive system. A good way to keep yourself detoxified is to have a bowl of brown-rice porridge every morning.
These beans can stimulate bowel movement, help with constipation, and induce diuresis. You can put red beans to stew in an electric cooker or crockpot before going to bed and then drink the liquid the next morning to promote detoxification.
Carrots help treat constipation and are also rich in beta carotene, which can neutralize toxins. Fresh carrots are better at clearing away toxins, soothing the intestines, and relaxing the bowels. You can juice them and add honey and lemon juice, which is thirst-quenching and good for detoxification.
These yams can rectify the digestive system, reduce subcutaneous fat, and help your immune system. They work best when served raw. You can cut a peeled Chinese yam into small pieces and combine with pineapple and water in a blender or juice them. This is good for promoting digestion and regulating the intestines.
Native to Europe and Northern Asia, the burdock plant has small purple flowers and large, fuzzy leaves that are whitish underneath. Burdock can improve blood circulation and metabolism and regulate bowel function.
The fiber can soften excrement, which is good for detoxification and treating constipation. You can make burdock tea and drink it any time. Burdock is safe to use over a long period of time.
Asparagus contains various nutrients, including asparagine and potassium, which can induce diuresis to discharge excess water in the body. The tips of asparagus are rich in vitamin A. It’s good to leave the tips a bit on top of the water when cooking to maximally preserve nutrients.
Onions can stimulate bowel movement and promote digestion. They are rich in sulfur which, when combined with protein, is especially good for the liver, resulting in good detoxification.
Make a pot of onion-based vegetable soup and add some high-fiber vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and celery. The soup can break down accumulated toxins and help with elimination.
Radishes are very good for inducing diuresis. The fiber they contain can also relax the bowels and help with weight loss. They are good for detoxification when served raw. You can also juice or pickle them.
Chrysanthemum is rich in vitamin A, which protects the liver and helps to discharge toxins from the body. You can make a tea by boiling chrysanthemum flowers and adding a little sweetener. It is also good in a juice made with tomato, carrot, grapefruit, apple, and mixed nuts.
Sweet Potato Leaves
Sweet potato leaves give a feeling of fullness. They can also stimulate bowel movement and prevent constipation. Wash fresh sweet potato leaves and cook them in boiling water. When fully cooked, stir with chopped garlic and add a bit of salt and oil.
These leaves contain vitamins and fiber that can stimulate the appetite and help with constipation. Clean and drip-dry the radish leaves. Then juice them and add a bit of honey. Regular intake is good for detoxification and health maintenance.
Sichuan aescin is an extract from horse chestnuts that can reduce blood sugar and treat habitual constipation. You can mix Sichuan aescin with tomato, alfalfa sprouts, yellow pepper, kiwi, mixed nuts, and a bit of passion fruit juice or apple cider vinegar. Blend and enjoy as a drink.
Yogurt has lactic acid, which may help with constipation and stabilize the stomach. It can also help discharge toxins accumulated in the intestinal tract. Yogurt can also give you a feeling of fullness. It is good to eat yogurt before breakfast when the stomach is empty.
Vinegar is good for metabolism and discharges acidic materials from the body. It can also induce diuresis and relax the bowels. Drink some diluted vinegar after breakfast and dinner every day.
China Gaze is the English edition of the popular Chinese website and newspaper Kanzhongguo, which offers a window into the philosophy, culture, and beauty of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization. www.chinagaze.com
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The TomTato from Thompson & Morgan combines a potato and tomato plant into one plant.
The specially grafted plant is “a horticultural breakthrough,” according to the company.
“The tomatoes are sugary yet tangy with a brix of 10.2, and below ground this plant produces delicious, versatile potatoes – ideal for boiling, mashing, roasting, baking or for making chips,” it says in a description on its YouTube video about the product.
Above the ground, up to 500 cherry tomatoes can be grown with the plant. In addition, white potatoes are grown underneath the plant.
“From one single plant you can now harvest tomatoes and potatoes,” says the company.
Pest adaptation to GMOs a global problem
South Africa’s government is increasingly opening the door to genetically modified organisms GMOs—along with the issues that arise as GMOs sweepingly change the country’s agriculture industry.
Many African nations are wary of welcoming GMOs. South Africa, however, is now the world’s eighth-largest GMO producer, with 2.9 million hectares (4.9 million acres) of GM maize, soybeans, and cotton grown in 2012.
One of the major problems South Africa has encountered is the increasing resistance of pests to the GM crops. A misuse of the technology is to blame, say some researchers.
Pest Resistance and Biotech Misuse
Pests have been a big problem in South Africa for decades, and GM crops, when first introduced, were seen by many as a new and much-needed solution to the problem.
Despite the higher cost of GM seeds, adoption by many farmers was quick, steady, and widespread.
The first GM crops, yellow maize hybrids from Monsanto, were introduced in 1997. By 2009, 98 percent of cotton, 85 percent of soybean, and 73 percent of maize grown in the country was GM.
During the mass transition, however, some regulations and controls were overlooked, and the result has been a resistance developed by pests to the toxins produced by GM plants. The plants are genetically engineered to kill pests.
Refuge areas are supposed to be created, in which a certain number of pests are allowed to live so that they don’t develop a resistance. Johnnie Van den Berg of the School of Environmental Sciences and Development at North-West University worked with researchers to survey 105 commercial farmers. Most farmers did not follow refuge requirements.
Because of this critical mistake, the pest targeted by GM maize—stem borers—developed widespread resistance to the crops.
“This study shows irresponsible management of GM crop technology by farmers, chemical, and seed companies,” the researchers said in the 2010 report.
Farmers had mixed views of the growing stem borer resistance. In Christiana, one of the six areas surveyed, farmers were highly aware of the resistance, and only 34 percent said they would plant Bt maize in the future.
In the other five areas, the high majority (70 to 100 percent) said they would plant Bt maize in the future, though at least 45 percent in each area said the growing resistance to stem borer may prevent them from doing so sometime in the future.
At the same time, the majority of farmers expressed an overall positive attitude toward Bt maize, associating it with increased productivity and convenient management.
Is GM Food Necessary in South Africa?
Professor Van den Berg wrote in an email to Epoch Times that there are many benefits to GM crops, including farmers saving money by spending less on fertilizer and other inputs, as well as getting higher yields. However, the resistance pests have developed against both Bt cotton and maize in some areas of South Africa means “the value of GM technology” has been lost in these areas, he said.
“The main message that we send out to industry and the farming community is that stewardship of GM technology is very important and that GM technology should not be used as a silver bullet approach but as part of integrated pest and weed management strategies,” he said. Private companies, such as Monsanto, that develop GM technologies will determine the future of GM crops in South Africa, he said.
The growing pest resistance is part of a worldwide phenomenon.
In an analysis of 77 studies conducted in eight countries, a team of U.S. and French scientists found that nearly half of major pest species had become resistant to Bt cotton or corn plants, including the one in South Africa.
“Either take more stringent measures to delay resistance, such as requiring larger refuges, or this pest will probably evolve resistance quickly,” said Bruce Tabashnik, a professor at the University of Arizona and lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
On the other hand, the development of resistance in pests is inevitable even with conventional pesticides, said Karl Kunert, a professor at the Plant Science Department of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute at the University of Pretoria.
While “resistance will ultimately occur” with all pesticides, including those produced by GMOs, proper application of GM technology “has delayed such development of resistance, which certainly speaks for the technology,” he wrote in an email.
He said South Africa does not yet have the expertise needed to deal with GM crops, but the crops could have benefits beyond producing more food, such as providing economic opportunities and health benefits in less developed areas.
“A simple example is engineered cotton with a better fiber quality,” he said. It “addresses the need for better nutrition, which cannot be easily addressed by simply supplementing food in Africa.”
Thus, the question of whether it’s necessary for GM crops to be grown there “is rather a question of benefit and demand by both farmers and consumers.”
GMO watchdog Biowatch South Africa has a different perspective.
Rose Williams, Biowatch’s director, wrote in an email to the Epoch Times that GM crops are not necessary. They undermine food sovereignty for the country, she said.
Williams cited four reasons GM crops aren’t necessary.
First, the seeds are patented, meaning the farmers have to buy seeds every year instead of re-using them. Second, the relative danger of GM crops contaminating non-GM crops is high. Third, the lack of bio-diversity in the mono-crop industrial model that GMOs are a part of. And lastly, the chemicals used in GMO production, which “poison the land” and “are not part of healthy and culturally appropriate food.”
A Negative Cycle
Mariam Mayet, an environmental lawyer who represents Biowatch South Africa, spoke to the increased pesticide and herbicide use.
The growing pest resistance has forced Monsanto, one of the largest GM crop and pesticide producers, to sell farmers more chemicals to control the epidemic, she said. Monsanto has completely abandoned the maize variety it was using and has introduced another variety.
“This, too, will result in insect evolution, necessitating more pesticide use, and so the treadmill will continue,” she said via email.
Mayet also takes issue with the common statements that GM crops decrease pesticide use, lead to greater yields, and are less susceptible to pests and drought.
In the United States, for instance, the introduction of GM crops resulted in a net increase of pesticide use, Mayet said, citing research by the Organic Center. From 1996 to 2009, pesticide application increased by 144,000 tons. In Brazil, pesticide sales increased by 72 percent from 2006 to 2012.
“We appear to be aping these trends here in South Africa,” she said. “Over half of our GM maize is now herbicide-tolerant and domestic glyphosate [a type of herbicide] use has rocketed accordingly, from 12 million liters [3 million gallons] in 2006, to 20 million liters [5 gallons] at present. In addition, between 2007 and 2011 glyphosate imports increased by 177 percent.
“This is particularly disturbing in the case of South Africa, as it is clear that our food safety authorities do not have the capacity to adequately monitor pesticide residue levels in our food.”
The Government Stance, Regulations
The country’s Department of Environmental Affairs website outlines the potential benefits of GM crops, including higher yields, and lower herbicide use. However, the department also outlines the main concerns, including potential risks to human and animal health.
GM crops are vetted by several agencies before being approved for commercial production. Notably, a type of locally developed GM potato was rejected in 2009, though 49 varieties of canola, cotton, maize, rice, and soybeans have been approved in the country.
Also, grain imports from the United States are not allowed in South Africa unless an accompanying permit certifies the grain is milled and can’t be planted in the country. Corn from the United States is not allowed in at all.
Officials say they want to make sure GMOs don’t completely take over local strains.
Illustrative of the mindsets of many elected officials who spoke at a 2006 parliamentary debate on a GMO bill amendment, then-Member of Parliament Dr. Ruth Rabinowitz said: “even though South Africa could not afford not to develop biotechnology, it could also not afford not to develop organic farming or indigenous plant [cultivation].”
“Both these two fields were being sacrificed to develop biotechnology,” she said.
A bill currently on the table could close a loophole in the the current GMO labeling law, mandating all food with more than 0.9 percent genetically modified ingredients be labeled.
The Department of Science and Technology’s manifesto on biotechnology states that GM crops are safe because any approved in South Africa have been “subject to extensive testing and regulations.” At the same time, it says, “There are groups who believe the effects of GMOs will only be determined after many, many years of consumption, and until this time, we should proceed with caution.”
It does not appear that any studies on the health effects of GM food have been conducted in the country, though researchers have looked at multiple other aspects.
South African scientists are developing unique GM varieties not found anywhere else. This could cause trouble, however, in exporting to countries that forbid non-approved GM strains, according to a 2010 Council of Scientific and Industrial Research study titled “GMOs in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges in South Africa.”
Several problems persist in the country, including limited funding for agricultural biotechnology research and a shortage of trained biodiversity experts, which means only one GM crop (MON810) out of the 129 in the country is being monitored.
Though the production of GM crops is kept separate from non-GM crops, a 2011 South African National Biodiversity Institute study showed a flow of genes from the GM Bt maize to non-GM maize. As most farmers now grow GM maize, and cross pollination does occur despite efforts to separate the crops, it is difficult to find non-GM maize in the country.
Knowledge of GMOs and Labeling
A study of 7,000 adults aged 16 and older across the country found that eight out of ten South Africans have no knowledge about biotechnology. The 2005 study by the Public Understanding of Biotechnology found that 63 percent of respondents didn’t know whether they had ever eaten food containing genetically modified ingredients.
Also in 2005, researchers from the GMO Testing Facility at the University of the Free State reported on the lack of a system to verify claims made on labels. They found 71 percent of products in South African stores labeled “non-GM,” “GMO free,” “organic,” contained genetically modified ingredients.
The Epoch Times is exploring the issue of genetic modification, especially as it pertains to food products, with a series titled “GMOs, A Global Debate.” Each article in this series focuses on the role and reception of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in a different country. See all articles tagged GMOs and Biotech here
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Tags: Body & Mind, Chinese culture, chinese medicin, Food, health
In China, it was traditionally believed that our bodies are small worlds containing all the elements and energies found in the world around us and fully interconnected with our environment.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the different parts of our bodies, just like the earth around us, are made up of the energies of the five elements—metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.
Each organ system is connected with specific elements as well as certain emotions, a color, flavors, and other energetic characteristics. The four seasons and the hours of the day also correspond to different elements.
Because of this, our bodies’ needs change as our environments changes. To maintain harmony in our lives, we need different things when the sun rises and when it sets, and different things during winter, spring, summer, and fall.
Most of us have experienced taking a walk outside during the transition from one season to the next. We smell the difference; we feel the difference.
In autumn, as the days get shorter and the weather cooler, we are reminded that winter is around the corner, and we must prepare for it. Traditionally, we would be stocking up on fuel and food, unpacking our warm-weather clothing, and preparing for the period of winter stillness.
You may have noticed feeling a little sad these days, mourning the end of summer fun. You may notice your hair and skin feeling a little dry, just like the leaves and plants which are also less lustrous as they transition into autumn dryness. You may feel more vulnerable to getting chilled as you feel the rising autumn winds swirling about and cooling the summer air.
If you walk outside in shorts and a T-shirt at the beginning of autumn, break a sweat that opens your pores, and don’t get covered soon, the “autumn wind” can easily enter your system, making you more vulnerable to colds and chills.
To protect yourself from illness during this season, it is time to start preparing your body for the cooler months ahead.
The easiest and most practical way to prevent colds, depression, and colon issues such as constipation during the transition into autumn is to eat the foods that are local and in season.
The earth, in its mysterious wisdom, produces foods that warm us during the cold months, just as it produces foods that cool us during the warm months.
Aligning ourselves with the five elements means connecting our choices to the ruling element of the season. Autumn is governed by the metal element, which, when in balance, allows us to be more organized, focused, and productive.
Therefore, how we cook and what we eat should give us the energy to thrive in the cooler season.
Autumn is a time when we want to gradually move away from raw, cooling foods such as smoothies, salads, popsicles, and watermelon and into warming soups. Since it is not winter yet, you can still balance your meals with foods that are light and mucous-reducing, such as shitake mushrooms, white button mushrooms, daikon or red radish, bok choy, and cabbage.
Slow-cooked dishes such as congee (Asian-style rice soup) with some pickled vegetables, miso soup, and bean soups such as chickpea or aduki bean soup with squash are all great autumn meal choices. The preferred meat choice is pork, which, as a white meat, relates to the metal element.
It will also help to include foods that are sour in flavor because these energetically help us pull our thoughts together and ground us. Some suggestions are sauerkraut, pickles, olives, lemons and limes, vinegar, plums, grapefruit, and even tart yogurt and sour dough bread (if you can handle gluten and dairy).
Autumn relates to grief. If we grieve too much, we can strain our lungs and colon. We must allow ourselves to process grief and let it go. We can release our emotions as we do our breath when we exhale fully.
Pick up your mood by exercising more, breathing deeply every day and at different times throughout the day, and spending quality time with friends or on activities that take you out of sadder emotions and into joy.
Just as the leaves on the trees start to dry up and shed, so does our skin and body. If you notice feeling thirstier lately or have dry skin and hair, it may be a reaction to the seasonal change; however, if thirst and dryness are severe or persist, there may be something out of balance in your diet, fitness, or internal health.
Foods that create more moisture in the body are tofu, tempeh, spinach, barley, millet, oysters, crabs, mussels, herring, pork, pesto made with pine nuts, eggs, almond butter, and seaweed. Avoid foods that are too bitter or aromatic.
For a healthy colon and strong lungs, it is important that you stay active and eat enough fiber. Avoid overeating, eating processed foods, and smoking.
Be sure to stay warm if you exercise outside. You don’t want to “catch wind” as the ancients used to say, referring to the fact that when you sweat, your pores open up and become gateways for pathogens to enter the body, especially during the cooler, windier autumn months. To avoid the flu and yearly colds, dress appropriately.
Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is www.lavendermamas.com.
Tags: Body & Mind, China, environmental issues, Food, health, Society
The three largest fruit juice makers in China have been found to purchase vast quantities of rotting and putrid fruits for use in their beverages, according to investigations published in the Chinese press recently.
A fruit seller speaking from his tricycle in Xuzhou of Jiangsu Province was frank with a reporter who stopped by to ask him what he had planned to do with the rotten fruits he had.
“Those fruit can’t be sold to people for eating,” the fruit seller, giving his surname as Wang. “They are for the juice companies.” He pointed to Andre Juice, a large company, across the street. “I can probably get enough fruit by tomorrow and take them to the company,” he remarked to the reporter from the 21st Century Business Herald, a large newspaper in China.
“The closer to the fruit seller’s tricycle, the worse the fruit smelled,” the reporter wrote, describing the scene. “Liquid drips down from the tricycle. Flies are everywhere.”
Along with Andre Juice in Jiangsu, other companies to be found using corrupted fruit sources included China Huiyuan Juice and China Haisheng Juice, in Anhui Province and elsewhere. The companies are typically located near China’s large fruit production areas.
Local farmers have developed a hierarchy for the fruit they sell: the good fruit goes to the public, lower quality fruit goes to canned fruit manufacturers, and the worst of it, including rotting fruit, goes to juice companies.
Mr. Chen, the owner of a fruit market in Dangshan County, in the central Anhui Province, told the reporter that he delivers an average of 20 to 30 tons of “blind fruit” to juice company plants nearby every day. Sometimes he moves more than 60 tons. “Blind fruit” refers to rotten or damaged fruit.
Chen says he spends 400 yuan ($65.35) to purchase a ton of “blind fruit” from fruit farmers, and offloads it to juice companies for 450 yuan ($73.52).
The juice companies Huiyuan and Andre told the Chinese media that their fruit had no problems, but after the reports emerged the Anhui Provincial Food and Drug Administration suspended production, pending rectification of the problems, according to the state mouthpiece Xinhua.
The companies’ stocks, listed in Hong Kong, tumbled up to 5 percent on Sept. 23, the day after the reports emerged.
Huiyuan Juice had a domestic market share of nearly 50 percent in 2012. According to Haisheng Juice’s website, 95 percent of its products are for export, including to North America. Its concentrated apple juice exports are 20 percent of the global amount traded.