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Decarboxylation: What It Is, & Why You Should Decarb Your Weed

Decarboxylation: What It Is, & Why You Should Decarb Your Weed

decarbing

Have you ever wondered why you need to heat cannabis to feel the psychoactive effects? In order to get high from cannabis, you need to decarboxylate it first. But, what is decarboxylation and why should you decarb your weed? We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about getting the most out of your herb. 

What is decarboxylation?

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Did you know that raw cannabis is non-psychoactive? The herb only becomes psychoactive when two things happen. First, when the bud dries and ages. Second, when the cannabis is heated. More psychoactive compounds are created by heating the plant than via ageing. In order to release the full potential of marijuana’s psychoactive effects, you must first go through a process called decarboxylation.

 

“Decarboxylation” is a long word for a simple process. To decarboxylate your herb, you just need to heat it. Applying a little heat to dried bud inspires some fascinating chemical reactions in the plant. Namely, you transform compounds called cannabinoid acids into a form that is readily usable by the body.

Cannabinoids are chemicals found in the cannabis plant that bind to cells in the body to produce effects. Sometimes decarboxylation is called “activating” or “decarbing”.

You probably have already heard that the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis is delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is what gets you high when you smoke a little flower or eat an edible. But, you won’t find much THC on a live, growing marijuana plant, if any at all. What you find instead is another compound called THCA, which is short for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.

THCA is not psychoactive. That’s right, this acid compound won’t get you high. In order to feel the mind-altering effects of cannabis, you need to transform THCA into psychoactive THC. So, you apply a little heat.

Each time you take a lighter to a joint or place your cannabis in the oven, you are acting the part of an amateur chemist. You are converting one compound into another. You’re turning an otherwise non-psychoactive plant into a psychoactive one. To get specific, you are removing a “carboxyl group” from the acid form of THC. Hence the term “De-carboxylation“. Without that carboxyl group, THC is able to freely bind to cell receptors in your brain and body.

Are there benefits to raw cannabis?

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If you want a high, you need to decarb first. However, there are some benefits to leaving your cannabis raw. Keep in mind that “raw” does not mean dried and cured. When you dry and cure your cannabis, a little decarboxylation happens as the herb ages.

Raw, uncured cannabis has a variety of health benefits. Cannabinoid acids are potent anti-inflammatories. The herb is also packed full of vitamins and nutrients found in other healthy greens.

To use the herb raw, you’ll need to use freshly picked buds or fan leaves. You can also store raw cannabis in the refrigerator for a day or two like you would any other leafy green herb. Though, be mindful of mould and wilting. Densely packed cannabis flowers can become mouldy quite quickly when they’re exposed to moisture. You really want to use them as quickly as possible. They also begin to lose potency and denature the longer they sit.

Many medical cannabis patients have success by simply drinking raw cannabis juices or smoothies. You can find more information on raw, dietary cannabis here.

If you’re hoping for some psychoactive edibles, however, it’s best to decarboxylate your cannabis before you begin the cooking process.

Why do I decarb before cooking?

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If you’re cooking with cannabis, it is highly recommended you decarboxylate before you begin making your edible. If you ingest cannabis and want the full psychoactive effect, you need to first decarboxylate before cooking with the herb. Activating your cannabis prior to cooking ensures that THC’s psychoactive potential is not wasted.

If you don’t decarb before cooking, you risk losing potency and are not making the most out of your cannabis.

Do I need to decarb CBD strains?

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The short answer? Yes. CBD is short for cannabidiol, another common cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. Just like THC, CBD is found in its acid form in raw cannabis. This raw form (CBDA) has health-promoting properties on its own. But, activating CBD makes it more readily available for the body to use.

To use the proper term, activated CBD is more bioavailable. This means that the compound can be put to use by your body right away. When left in its raw form, your body has to do some extra work to break down the molecule and it may use the acid form in a slightly different way.

The same goes for other cannabinoids as well. Their raw form is the acid from. To make them more bioavailable, you need to decarboxylate. Bioavailability is why you need to decarb your weed.

Temperature and terpenes

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When it comes to decarboxylating, the lower the temperature you use, the longer the decarboxylation process is it’s going to take. However, this is not a bad thing! When using a lower temperature, you to lose fewer terpenes throughout the decarboxylation process.

Have you ever wondered why buds of even the same strain can have different tastes and smells? The answer is hidden in terpenes. Simply put, terpenes are the oils that give cannabis plants and flowers their unique smell such as berry, mint, citrus, and pine. There are many medicinal benefits to terpenes; some will successfully relieve your stress while others will promote focus and awareness.

Terpenes also work in tandem with THC and other cannabinoids to amplify the medical benefits of certain strains. For example, one common terpene is linalool. Linalool is the compound that gives lavender its unique scent. Strains like L.A. Confidential and Lavender tend to have high levels of linalool. Research suggests that this may amplify the sedative effects of THC.

The max temperature for terpene expression is 310 to 400°F (154 – 204.4°C). Anything above that will burn off the terpenes, altering flavor and lessening medical effects.

How to decarb before cooking

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Decarboxylation is a super simple process. Before you throw some cannabis into your pasta sauce or some “herbal seasoning” to your next pizza, make sure you follow these easy steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 240° F. / 115° C.
  2. Break up cannabis flowers and buds into smaller pieces with your hands. We use one ounce, but you can elect to do more or less.
  3. Put the pieces in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Make sure the pan is the correct size so there is not empty space on the pan.
  4. Bake the cannabis for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so that it toasts evenly.
  5. When the cannabis is darker in color, a light to medium brown, and has dried out, remove the baking sheet and allow the cannabis to cool. It should be quite crumbly when handled.
  6. In a food processor, pulse the cannabis until it is coarsely ground (you don’t want a superfine powder). Store it in an airtight container and use as needed to make extractions

Watch the video

Fortunately, we’ve created this easy step-by-step video to walk you through the decarboxylation process. It really is not complicated, and taking a little time to properly activate your herb will produce amazing results. Watch the video below to see how it’s done:

 

 

Can you believe this! WTF! Subway removes ham and bacon from nearly 200 stores and offers halal meat only after ‘strong demand’ from Muslims

Nearly 200 Subway branches across the UK and Ireland have cut out ham and bacon, selling only halal meat, in response to demand from their multicultural customers

  • 185 branches across UK and Ireland now sell halal-only meat
  • Halal refers to objects or actions permissible under Islamic law
  • Pork is forbidden and while other meat can be eaten, it must be sourced, slaughtered and processed according to strict rules
  • Subway said all halal meat served in its branches has come from animals that were stunned before being slaughtered
  • Halal-only menu is in response to ‘strong demand’ from Muslim customers

Fast food giant Subway has removed ham and bacon from almost 200 outlets, and switched to halal meat alternatives in an attempt to please its Muslim customers.

It has confirmed turkey ham and turkey rashers will be used instead in 185 of its stores, where all the meat will now be prepared according to halal rules.

The chain, which has around 1,500 outlets across the UK, explained its decision by saying it had to balance animal welfare concerns with ‘the views of religious communities’.

Nearly 200 Subway branches across the UK and Ireland have cut out ham and bacon, selling only halal meat, in response to demand from their multicultural customers

Traditional halal slaughter sees animals have their throats slit before bleeding to death. But Subway stressed that the meat served in its sandwiches would come from animals that have been stunned first, a practice that aims to reduce any suffering.

In Arabic the word halal means ‘permitted’ or ‘lawful’ and defines anything that is allowed or lawful according to the Qur’an.

It is often used to indicate food – particularly meat – has been prepared in accordance with Muslim principles and techniques.

Muslims are forbidden from eating any non-halal food and meat from pigs and Subway said customers can identify those stores selling halal food by the special ‘All meats are Halal’ sign, which must be displayed in participating branches.

In the halal-only branches ham and bacon has been substituted for turkey ham and rashers.

Many animal charities condemn halal slaughter as being cruel to animals.

Traditionally in halal abattoirs the throats of the animals are cut while they are fully conscious – an act many campaigners say is inhumane and needlessly cruel.

In the halal-only stores ham and bacon have been substituted for turkey ham and turkey rashers, the sandwich chain said. A spokeswoman said all halal meat served in Subway branches has come from animals that were stunned before being slaughtered

In the halal-only stores ham and bacon have been substituted for turkey ham and turkey rashers, the sandwich chain said. A spokeswoman said all halal meat served in Subway branches has come from animals that were stunned before being slaughtered.

In non-halal abattoirs, livestock are stunned before killing to prevent any unnecessary suffering.

Some halal butchers also practise pre-stunning, though it is not permitted by some Islamic scholars.

In Britain, killing an animal without prior stunning is illegal, but the law gives special exemption to Muslim and Jewish meat producers on the grounds of religion.

There are thought to be around 12 abattoirs dedicated to unstunned slaughter in the UK, while hundreds practise stunned halal slaughter.

A Subway spokeswoman told MailOnline all halal meat served in the participating branches is from animals who were stunned prior to slaughter.

She said: ‘The growing popularity of the Subway chain with the diverse multicultural population across the UK and Ireland means we have to balance the values of many religious communities with the overall aim of improving the health and welfare standards of animals.

‘We put a programme into place in 2007 to ensure that the population demographic is taken into account when new store openings are considered in order that we meet consumer demand in each location.

SUBWAY SUBS AFFECTED BY RULES

Subs
Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt
Steak and Cheese
Meatball Marinara
Subway Melt – ham, bacon, turkey breast and cheese
Italian B.M.T. – pepperoni, salami and ham
Spicy Italian – pepperoni and salami
Chicken Avocado

Breakfast subs
Bacon
Mega Melt – bacon, sausage, egg and cheese
Sausage
Bacon, Egg and Cheese
Sausage, Egg and Cheese

All ham and bacon is replaced by turkey ham and turkey rashers and all meat is prepared according to Islamic halal rules.

‘All our suppliers comply with EU animal welfare legislation as a minimum and we require suppliers of halal products to adopt the stunning of animals prior to their slaughter.

‘All halal meats are certified by the appropriate halal authorities.

‘All halal Subway stores have numerous signs stating that they serve halal food.

‘These are situated on the menu panels, nutritional information and in the front window of the store.’

Animal campaigning charity PETA urged people to opt for a vegetarian diet to ensure they have the best interests of animals at heart.

A spokesman said: ‘At the best of times, meat is a product of a bloody and violent industry with no respect for other living beings who value their lives in the same way that we do and experience the same pain and terror that Subways’ customers would if they were killed for a sandwich.

‘Most religions, including Islam, preach kindness to animals, but words are one thing and practice another.

‘As the Dalai Lama said, “My religion is kindness”. And a diet that expresses kindness, is open to all religions and truly respects animal rights is a vegan one.

‘Subway-goers, no matter what their religion, can eat with a clear conscience by opting for the veggie patty, the veggie delight or, heaven forbid, a salad.’

Speaking about the general issue of halal slaughter, an RSPCA spokeswoman added: ‘Scientific research has clearly shown that slaughter of an animal without stunning can cause unnecessary suffering, and the RSPCA is opposed to the slaughter of any animal without first making it insensible to pain and distress.

‘At present, the only legal exemptions to stunning during slaughter exist for kosher and halal methods of slaughter, however, it is important to differentiate between ‘religious’ and ‘non-stun’ slaughter as around 90 per cent of all halal in the UK receives a stun before slaughter.

‘Our concern has nothing to do with the expression of religious belief but with the practice of killing by throat cutting without pre-stunning.

‘We believe that meat produced from animals stunned or not stunned before slaughter should be clearly labelled to allow consumer choice, and continue to press for changes in the law that would improve the welfare of all farm animals at the time of slaughter.’

HALAL DICTATES OBJECTS OR ACTIONS PERMISSIBLE UNDER ISLAMIC LAW

Halal refers to any object or action which is permissible according to Islamic law. The term covers not only food and drink but also matters of daily life.

Halal foods are those that Muslims are allowed to eat or drink under Islamic Shari’ah. The criteria dictates both food which are allowed and how the food must be prepared. The foods most commonly addressed are types of meat and animal tissue.

The most common example of non-halal, or forbidden food is pork. It is the only meat that must not be eaten by Muslims at all, due to historical, cultural and religiously perceived hygienic concerns.

Muslims are forbidden under Islamic law from eating any pork products, any other meat must be sourced, killed and processed according to strict rules

Other meats can be forbidden, depending on their source, the cause of the animal’s death and how it was processed.

To be halal, the food must have come from a supplier that uses halal practises. Specifically the slaughter must be performed by a Muslim, who must invoke the name of Allah prior to killing the animal. Commonly a person will say ‘Bismillah’ (‘In the name of God’) before repeating ‘Allahu akbar’ (‘God is the greatest’) three times.

The animal is then slaughtered with a sharp knife, by cutting the throat, windpipe and blood vessels in the neck without cutting the spinal cord. The blood must then be drained from the veins of the animal.

Traditionally and according to Islamic scholars an animal must be conscious while slaughtered.

However the majority of halal abattoirs stun the animals before killing them.

Muslims must also ensure that all foods, particularly processed foods, as well as non-food items like cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, are halal.

The Myths of Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva is one of the loudest voices speaking out against GM (genetic modification) technology and modern agriculture. She is an ideologue and a crusader, which unfortunately means that she feels free to play lose with the facts and the science as long as it serves her narrative. Michael Specter did an excellent article about Shiva a year ago for The New Yorker. This quote puts much of Shiva’s propaganda into perspective:

“There are two trends,” she told the crowd that had gathered in Piazza Santissima Annunziata, in Florence, for the seed fair. “One: a trend of diversity, democracy, freedom, joy, culture—people celebrating their lives.” She paused to let silence fill the square. “And the other: monocultures, deadness. Everyone depressed. Everyone on Prozac. More and more young people unemployed. We don’t want that world of death.”

To her, GMOs are part of a world of death, while opposing GMOs is all about joy and freedom. She is anti-corporate, anti-West, anti-globalization, and anti-technology. Her campaign is largely one of lies and misinformation. She would also apparently rather have people starve than eat GMOs.

As reason.com reports:

Ten thousand people were killed and 10 to 15 million left homeless when a cyclone slammed into India’s eastern coastal state of Orissa in October 1999. In the aftermath, CARE and the Catholic Relief Society distributed a high-nutrition mixture of corn and soy meal provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development to thousands of hungry storm victims. Oddly, this humanitarian act elicited cries of outrage.

Shiva called on India to reject the donated food. She wanted to take food away from the hungry and homeless cyclone victims, rather than have them “poisoned” with GMOs. This motivated Ronald Bailey from reason.com to call Shiva, “One of the World’s Worst People.”

By the way, this anti-corporate crusader for the poor makes $40,000 per speaking engagement. 

Recently Shiva wrote an article titled: 5 GMO Myths Debunked by Vandana Shiva. What she is actually doing is “rebunking” her own myths. Here we can see a huge red flag for an ideologue – they need to have every fact align with their narrative, rather than admitting that complex topics are complex. For example, anti-vaxers could admit that vaccines work but still oppose them because of alleged side effects. Global warming deniers could admit humans are warming the planet but oppose certain proposed solutions, and Shiva could admit that industrial farming is efficient, even if she opposes the methods for other reasons.

Myth #1: The Green Revolution

Right off, however, with myth #1 she makes the extraordinary claim that the green revolution actually decreased crop yields in India.

The Green Revolution did not save India from famine, as the proponents of Industrial Agriculture and GMO technology would argue, in fact the Green Revolution reduced India’s production. For more information about the Green Revolution read, Nothing Green in the Green Revolution in India Today.

Even looking at the data she cites, however, reveals her shenanigans. She writes:

His study comparing pre and post Green Revolution performance showed that the rate of growth of aggregate crop production was higher in the years before the Green Revolution was introduced (1967-68) than after it.

The comparison is not between yield but the rate of increase in yield. Yield still increased after the Green Revolution, but (she claims) for some crops not as fast. However if you look at the table on her article you will notice a couple of things. The period before the Green Revolution is 15 years, while after is 10 years. I don’t see that an adjustment was made for this difference. Further, you can see that the land area increased more before the Green revolution than after – so yield increases prior to the Green Revolution were due to planting more land.

Land scarcity and increasing land costs, however, were a major limiting factor – increasing food production by increasing land use was simply not keeping up with population growth. As a recent review of the actual evidence claims, the Green Revolution had a dramatic impact.

Although populations had more than doubled, the production of cereal crops tripled during this period, with only a 30% increase in land area cultivated.

Myth #2: Golden Rice 

Anti-GMO activists hate golden rice, a GMO rice with added beta carotene, because it breaks just about every aspect of their narrative. The rice is not owned by any corporation, but is a humanitarian project. It has nothing to do with pesticides. There is no issue with cross-contamination. The crop is not for the benefit of western corporations. The sole purpose of golden rice is to reduce vitamin A deficiency in the developing world, which currently causes 80,000 deaths a year and half a million children to go blind.

Here is Shiva’s pathetic attempt to oppose this potentially very useful technology:

Here is our analysis establishing that our indigenous biodiversity and knowledge is far superior than Golden Rice to address malnutrition. Syngenta owns Golden Rice. It’s promotion as the fruits of public sector research are a blatant lie and an attempt to mislead people across the world.

Further, the Golden Rice paper had to be retracted, any fabricated claims made based on the paper do not stand.

First, vitamin A deficiency is a problem for more than just India. Further, the idea that planting gardens is going to solve the problem is ridiculous. There are plenty of poor people in developing regions of the world who do not have the land for even a small garden. Attempts to address vitamin A deficiency by providing fruits and vegetable and distributing vitamin A supplements have been ongoing. While they are helpful, they are nowhere near addressing the problem. Vitamin A enriched rice would be another tool to address this issue.

This type of argument is similar to the anti-fluoride crowd arguing that we don’t need fluoride in water because people can just brush their teeth.

Regarding Syngenta and golden rice, Syngenta has this to say:

Although Syngenta has a significant interest in seeing the humanitarian benefits from this technology become reality, we have no commercial interest in Golden Rice whatsoever. Golden Rice is an exclusively humanitarian project.

And the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board confirms:

Seed from these plants and performance data were donated to the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board.

Shiva has absolutely no information to contradict these facts – Syngenta donated their expertise and has no commercial stake. If she did have evidence she would have linked to it.

Finally, she repeats the claim of the anti-GMO crowd that the recent study showing that golden rice has the potential to provide clinically relevant amounts of vitamin A is not valid because of ethical concerns. This is nonsense, however. Ethical concerns were raised by anti-GMO activists in an attempt to discredit the study because they did not like the results. A thorough review found, however:

The reviews found no evidence of health or safety problems in the children fed golden rice; they also concluded that the study’s data were scientifically accurate and valid. Indeed, Souvaine’s letter to the USDA stresses that the results “have important public health and nutrition implications, for China and other parts of the world.”

There were issues with the consent form, which is unfortunate, but they don’t invalidate the results.

Myth #3: Cancer and Suicide

She next writes:

The epidemic of cancer has affected the farmers of Punjab because of pesticides. It has affected farmers of West UP. In a single village, our recent field survey revealed that there were 100 cancer victims. The farmers are getting into debt and committing suicide buying the pesticides and the citizens are dying of cancer because of the same poisons.

The issue of cancer and pesticides is a complex one, but there is no evidence for an “epidemic of cancer.” Animal data shows that some pesticides are potentially carcinogenic, but this does not prove that they actually cause cancer in people. Causing cancer in rats in high doses is a pretty low threshold.

Epidemiological data is mixed but mostly negative. There are now five pesticides classified as possibly or probably carcinogenic. However, experts disagree about the evidence and some are highly critical of these designations.

If we take a very cautious approach, which is what the industry does, it is prudent to protect farm workers from exposure to pesticides with protective gear and good practice. The amounts that consumers are exposed to in food is negligible and there is no evidence of any negative health effects (and if you’re worried, just thoroughly wash your food).

Further, organic farming allows for pesticide use, just “natural” pesticides with the completely unwarranted assumption that natural pesticides are safe. In fact, organic pesticides may be more toxic and worse for the environment than synthetic ones, but they are given a regulatory pass because they are “natural.”

The claim that GMOs are linked to increased farmer indebtedness and suicide is a complete myth manufactured by Vandana Shiva. I address the claim here.

Myth #4: Safety

She writes:

While the literature on biosafety is vast and I was appointed as a member of the expert group on biosafety by UNEP to create the framework for the International Law on Biosafety, two recent publications show that the assumption of safety and “substantial equivalence” is false.

One study is from the Norwegian Government, another by an Indian scientist from MIT who invented email.

We have been using GMOs for over 20 years now and no health issues have arisen. There is also no reason to suspect that the many different types of genetic changes broadly contained under GMO have any inherent health risk. GMOs are actually the most studied and regulated foods we have. Science and health organizations from the AAAS to the WHO have reviewed the evidence and found current GMOs and GM technology to be safe. 

Further, we have a 19 year GMO animal feeding study, looking at data from literally billions of animals, showing no negative health effects from consuming GMOs.

Against this mountain of safety data, Shiva cherry picks two studies. One is from Shiva Ayyadurai, the “Indian Scientist from MIT” who, it turns out, didn’t invent e-mail (but that’s another story). His “study” was actually a computer model which he says predicts GMO soy will contain high levels of formaldehyde. This claim has already been thoroughly debunked as utter nonsense.  I would also point out that genetic scientist Kevin Folta has offered to actually test Ayyadurai’s model by measuring formaldehyde levels in GMO soy, and the response from the MIT scientist has been deafening silence.

The review (not new research) commissioned by the Norwegian government is interesting. First, it is not a review of GMOs in general or GM technology but specifically of herbicide tolerant GMOs. It also does not conclude that they are not safe, only that we currently do not have sufficient evidence. Of course, what is “sufficient” evidence is completely subjective. Norway, to put it bluntly, is toward the extreme anti-GMO end of the spectrum. Their policy is:

Norway is one of the most restrictive countries with regard to the importation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and does not allow for GMO production. It has yet to approve an application for the import of foodstuffs that include GMOs. Norway applies the precautionary principle when vetting GMOs and in addition requires any user or importer of a GMO to show that the use is ethically and socially justifiable, requiring proof both that the GMO is not harmful and that its use will benefit society.

So they set the bar very high. There are many flaws with their review. For example, they cite as a criticism the fact that GMO studies often compare GMOs to standard farming practice, and not to organic farming or other methods. This is not an actual criticism, in my opinion. If you are trying to control for the GM trait as an isolated variable then that is the exact comparison you want to make. You don’t want to compare it to farming practices that differ in a variety of ways.

The report also relies upon discredited research, such as the infamous Seralini study.

The Norwegian review is therefore an outlier from an anti-GMO country with serious flaws, and is also limited in scope, and really can only cite the precautionary principle for justification in the end. This is the best that Shiva can do.

Myth #5: GMO and Science

Here we get a short naked assertion from Shiva:

The GMO story is not one of science, but of an unscientific and illegal takeover of our seeds and food.

She links only to her own documentary, not any actual evidence. She is not even making an argument here, just an assertion – restating her narrative.

Conclusion

The facts do not paint a flattering picture of Vandana Shiva. She is a fanatical ideologue who appears to have no problem spreading misinformation, making up stories to suit her needs, cherry picking data, and weaving conspiracy theories.

Her latest article is clearly nothing but sloppy propaganda. She makes no attempt to look fairly at the evidence and the arguments. She fails to cite evidence that substantiates her claims. And yet she remains the darling of the anti-GMO movement, which speaks volumes about that movement.

 

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “The Myths of Vandana Shiva”

  1. michaelegnoron 20 Aug 2015 at 9:39 am

    Steven,

    I agree with you that the anti-GMO folks are generally wrong on the science. GMO’s do pose some risks, but overall the benefits are much greater.

    But you misunderstand the context of the GMO debate.

    People in the Third World have been the victims of crimes against humanity perpetrated by the scientific community over the past century. Malthusian junk science exacerbated catastrophic famines in India in the 1880′s, DDT-hysteria junk science deprived poor countries with the tools to fight malaria just when the West had used DDT to defeat the disease, and hundreds of millions of people in China and India have been sterilized or aborted or had their fundamental right to privacy violated by “overpopulation” scientists peddling modern day Malthusianism.

    Many folks in the underdeveloped countries view scientists the way Jews view Nazis–they don’t care what they’re peddling. They don’t trust them.

    The scientific community bears a large part of the blame for anti-GMO hysteria.

  2. Steven Novellaon 20 Aug 2015 at 10:28 am

    Michael,

    I understand that the developing world has often been a victim of the industrialized world, including colonization, bigotry, and I would include cultural assaults such as missionaries.

    However, if you have to cite a 130 year old pseudoscience, I just don’t think that is terribly relevant today. I agree that DDT was taken from the developing world based on pseudoscientific fearmongering – the exact kind of thing that the skeptical community opposes. In fact, anti-GMO sentiments are very similar to the anti-DDT hysteria. I also don’t think that what is happening in China in terms of overpopulation can be blamed on western science.

    It is a complicated sociological issue. The behavior of large corporations, especially in the developing world, is certainly part of the picture. I don’t think you can blame the scientific community for this one, though.

  3. MikeLewinskion 20 Aug 2015 at 10:49 am

    The advice to wash pesticides off food doesn’t apply to glyphosate when used on Roundup Ready crops. The crops absorb it (and partially metabolize glyphosate to AMPA). Nonetheless, the allowed daily intake is set far below the “no observed effect levels” (there’s another discussion for another time about microbiome effects, which activists wield as if it were a trump card).

    One of my favorite pieces on Shiva is Activism and the gift of delusion:

    Lynas, in the New Yorker story, arrives at an analysis of Shiva that is true for many strident activists like her. “When you call somebody a fraud, that suggests the person knows she is lying… I don’t think Vandana Shiva necessarily knows that. But she is blinded by her ideology and her political beliefs. That is why she is so effective and so dangerous.”

    What Lynas is saying, when stripped of polite language, is that Vandana Shiva is deluded….

    Activism is not filled with the deluded, but it has a special place for them. They do well there because the balance of neutrality does not provide the intensity and drive that a powerful conviction does. An open mind is useless to a revolutionary. An open mind cannot convert other open minds. Activists have to stay with a cause for years, for decades, as the science changes, as the circumstances change, as the economy, people and the times change. They cannot do this if they have not given themselves completely to an idea. It is the belief that makes them special and sustains them. To allow even a germ of doubt is to demean their whole lives.

    In the world of activism, delusion is a gift. The great and the ordinary are separated by this gift. Most of the time activists are up against very powerful and violent forces driven by self-interest, greed or a set of delusions. Such forces cannot be opposed merely by good intentions, a laughable thought. An indestructible conviction, and the imagination of messianic purpose, is the equal and opposite force against the extraordinary resources of, say, capitalism or nationalism. Without activists who are so strung we would be at the mercy of thugs.

    I’ve met activists who knowingly lied and admitted it when confronted. They have their justifications, as indicated in the last paragraph. The perception of being the underdog in an asymmetric war against forces of evil justifies everything.

    In this, the gift of delusion of activists is also a gift to skeptics. Vandana Shiva keeps on giving.

  4. Steven Novellaon 20 Aug 2015 at 11:04 am

    Yes, I have to completely disagree with the justification, that deluded activists are needed to protect us from thugs. What the author is missing is that these deluded activists become thugs. Anti-GMO activists are absolute thugs – vandalizing research, smearing researchers, engaging in misinformation campaigns, keeping useful technologies from the poor and malnourished, etc.

    What we need are evidence-based regulations. The rule of law can protect us from thugs. We also need credible watchdogs – people who have credibility because they engage in due diligence, they don’t lie or exaggerate, they respect the truth. It’s not easy, but it really is the only way.

    Otherwise we are stuck between opposing thugs.

  5. MaryMon 20 Aug 2015 at 11:11 am

    Just last week she was peddling misinformation on “terminator” plants, again. She knows better, and is quite capable of understanding the difference between male sterile plants and GURT.

    https://twitter.com/keithkloor/status/632013632709259264

  6. Willyon 20 Aug 2015 at 12:50 pm

    I’m off topic here, but I’m not sure how else to get my question to you, Dr. Novella. In today’s Wall Street Journal, the opinion section had a piece by two fellows decrying the poor quality of scientific research. In this case, it was about funding for the National Institutes of Health. The piece is entitled “Getting the Bogus Studies Out of Science” and it is here (there’s a paywall no doubt): http://www.wsj.com/articles/getting-the-bogus-studies-out-of-science-1440024409

    The comment thread is full of comments from people who think science is a racket and it’s also full of references to AGW, despite the focus of the article being NIH funding. I have a strong sense that the WSJ policy is to generate distrust of science as a way of attacking AGW, and, to a lesser degree, evolution. It is shocking how many readers of one of the nation’s premier papers reject evolution.

    I have not either the expertise nor background to make cogent comments on the WSJ thread; I’d just be labeled a shill and end up swapping insults. Perhaps this opinion piece might be an opportunity for you to do another post on science integrity with a slant on how pieces like this get misunderstood?

    On topic: Vandana Shiva. Sad. Red meat for folks like Zen Honeycutt, Jeffery Smith, and The Food Babe. I know a number of people who are organic purists and they do lap up droppings from people like Shiva. It’s a real problem because her message resonates with “wholesomeness” in defense of the “helpless little people” being ruined by evil corporations.

McDonald’s Transparency Campaign Reveals Toxic Ingredients

McDonald’s Transparency Campaign Reveals Toxic Ingredients

HEALTH
13

Written by: Alek Hidell

 

American’s awareness to health and diet issues prompted McDonald’s to put forth a campaign of transparency.  What was found will disgust you beyond belief.  It is no secret, fast food restaurants cut costs by taking short cuts. These short cuts lead to the use of preservatives, flavor enhancers and a slew of other chemicals.  While McDonald’s was trying to expose that their product aren’t as bad for you as purported, the result was not what they hoped for.mc donalds transparency campaignThe multi-billion dollar company has created a series of videos, available on their website, hoping to show the public how their food makes it from the farm to the restaurant. We have all heard about the legendary “pink slime”, a meat filler used by most fast food chains. McD’s has publicly stated that they no longer use pink slime, but the sad thing is that pink slime might be the least scary thing you eat at McDonald’s. So what will you find in your daily trip to Mickey D’s?

 

1) Aluminum Sulfate: de_aluminiumsulfat_fluessig

used in bread production but also used in fertilizer and pesticide.

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2) Silicone Oil:mcdonalds-2

used in chicken nuggets, it is also used to make contact lenses.

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3) Cysteine-L: 

lcysteinehairduckfeathersnoahsbagels_1

a protein synthesized from human hair and duck feathers used to enhance flavor.

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4) TBHQ: Screen_shot_2010-10-11_at_3.50.33_PM_original

 

a petroleum byproduct used in most of McD’s menu.

Image: The dosage and amount of Mc Nuggets that, when consumed (within some hours) can lead to death.

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5) Propylene Glycol:

sta-clean-antifreeze-propylene-glycol-low-silicate-sca-precharged-800x1302

used in fast food and a number of consumer products, such as anti-freeze.

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6) Prescription Drugs:

prescription_drugs

a sampling of McD’s food showed residual traces of the antibiotics and even antidepressants, which were fed to their livestock.

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7) Dimethylpolysiloxane: 

Don’t worry, I can’t pronounce this one either. You’ll find this in anything McD’s cooks in a frier. It is also used to make shampoo, silly putty and a number of other non-food related products.

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8) Carminic Acid: tg

a food dye which comes from Cochineal beetles.

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9) Cellulose:

Cellulose_in_Hand

a filler which comes from wood pulp, it is the least harmful ingredient (out of this list) though.

__________________________________________________

10) Silicone Dioxide:

mcdonalds-10

an industrial sand used to keep substances from clumping.

One of the most shocking revelations about McD’s and the majority of processed food manufacturers is the use of citric acid. While citric acid is produced naturally in things like citrus fruit, that’s not where it comes from when used by these mega-corporations.  The citric acid used comes from a GMO Black Mold excretion. safe_image

The transparency allegedly put forth by McDonald’s has only brought up more questions.  The videos and information on their site does not address problems which activists have had issue with.  None of the information provided addresses the fact that the majority of the beef used by McDonald’s comes from antibiotic treated cows who are fed GMO corn. Nor does it address the fact that all of McD’s eggs come from caged chickens. While transparency is a good start, McDonald’s continues use these horrific, cost-cutting practices that puts profits over people.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sources:

http://www.nutritionalanarchy.com/2014/04/14/citric-acid-comes/

http://time.com/3501921/mcdonalds-transparency-campaign/

http://www.trueactivist.com/youll-never-eat-mcdonalds-again-after-reading-these-10-horrifying-facts/

http://www.trueactivist.com/mcdonalds-transparency-campaign-backfires-prepare-to-be-shocked/

This is how KFC actually makes their fried chicken from beginning to end

This is how KFC actually makes their fried chicken from beginning to end

We’ve seen beyond the greasy curtain of fast food and discovered how KFC actually makes fried chicken from the raw animal to the final product that gets put into buckets and double downs at their stores. It’s basically like how your grandma would do it—except they use an infernal magic machine called “pressure frier.”

Disclosure: KFC arranged for travel and accommodations to tour their kitchen and facilities at the KFC headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky as part of a KFC Insiders Event for the media.

After recently taking a tour of KFC’s headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky and running into creepy, beyond realistic statues of Colonel Sanders (one surprised me because it moved and talked) and trying to see if KFC employees always eat KFC for lunch at the cafeteria (they don’t but they could!), I got my apron on in the KFC company kitchen and made some fried chicken the official KFC way.

And though much of the specifics that have turned Kentucky Fried Chicken into KFC is purposely played up to create a mythical company lore (no one knows the secret 11 ingredient Original Recipe, a fact that KFC likes to remind people of, and the Colonel was the World’s Most Interesting Man, a title KFC hopes to re-take from the Dos Equis guy), it’s a little bit comforting to know that, well, comfort fast food is made in a way that we can relate to. Well, except KFC does it on a much more massive scale.

But the real surprise is in how unsurprising the process actually is (which I guess, is indicative of how low we set the bar for fast food chains). Here’s what they do:

1. Inspect chicken breasts, thighs, legs and wings

This is how KFC actually makes their fried chicken from beginning to end

KFC uses real chickens but those chickens come in a bag because they’ve already been processed into the desirable cuts. The first step in making KFC fried chicken is to check the chicken. Basically, it’s a quality control thing, the people in the back of the restaurant are seeing if the chicken is bruised, if there is excess fat or leftover feathers or accidental organs left in. They’re usually fine.

2. Dunk chicken into the brine

This is how KFC actually makes their fried chicken from beginning to end

It’s to get the breading to stick.

3. Dry off the chicken by tossing the chicken around 7 times

This is how KFC actually makes their fried chicken from beginning to end

You’ll soon see that KFC is obsessed with doing things 7 times. The drying toss is done to ensure the chicken isn’t too wet when it hits the breading.

4. Lay out the chicken onto the secret Original Recipe breading

This is how KFC actually makes their fried chicken from beginning to end

Now the fun begins.

5. Cover the chicken in the breading with a pseudo breaststroke motion

This is how KFC actually makes their fried chicken from beginning to end

The breading is so fine that when you put your hands in the mixing tub, it basically feels like swimming in fairy dust.

6. For 7 times

This is how KFC actually makes their fried chicken from beginning to end

Yup, 7 strokes.

7. Collect the chicken in a basket and do this (quite fun) see saw motion… 7 times

This is how KFC actually makes their fried chicken from beginning to end

Again, with the 7 times. This is done to make sure the chicken isn’t over-breaded (and to re-use the breading).

8. Place the breaded chicken on the frying rack

This is how KFC actually makes their fried chicken from beginning to end

There’s a whole chart that KFC uses to teach its employees how to place the breaded chicken cuts on a rack with different illustrations depending on the size of the cuts.

9. Rack ‘em and pressure fry them

This is how KFC actually makes their fried chicken from beginning to end

KFC pressure fries its fried chicken which sounds scary and awesome and requires special machines to do so.

10. Wait over 10 minutes for the machines to do their thing and… that’s how you make KFC fried chicken.

This is how KFC actually makes their fried chicken from beginning to end

Pro tip: KFC fried chicken tastes especially delicious when you’re the one making it.

Here’s a video clip showing the whole process:


Short film: The mind-blowing feast of a three Michelin-star restaurant

Short film: The mind-blowing feast of a three Michelin-star restaurant

DiverXO—a three Michelin-star restaurant in Madrid, Spain—is known for its radical flavors and textures. Eating there is not just about the food. It’s an experience for the senses that might not blow your brains off literally, as they show in this short film, but in some ways it certainly does.NSFW.


A microbial biomanufacturing platform for natural and semisynthetic opioids.

Abstract

Opiates and related molecules are medically essential, but their production via field cultivation of opium poppy Papaver somniferum leads to supply inefficiencies and insecurity. As an alternative production strategy, we developed baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a microbial host for the transformation of opiates. Yeast strains engineered to express heterologous genes from P. somniferum and bacterium Pseudomonas putida M10 convert ​thebaine to ​codeine, ​morphine, ​hydromorphone, ​hydrocodone and ​oxycodone. We discovered a new biosynthetic branch to ​neopineand neomorphine, which diverted pathway flux from ​morphine and other target products. We optimized strain titer and specificity by titrating gene copy number, enhancing cosubstrate supply, applying a spatial engineering strategy and performing high-density fermentation, which resulted in total opioid titers up to 131 mg/l. This work is an important step toward total biosynthesis of valuable benzylisoquinoline alkaloid drug molecules and demonstrates the potential for developing a sustainable and secure yeast biomanufacturing platform for opioids.

At a glance

Figures

left

Frozen Food Critic Realizes What He’s Done, Quits Show Mid-Episode

In the midst of filming the 692nd episode of his frozen meal review show, Freezerburns, it suddenly dawned on host Gregory Ng that microwavable food is terribly unhealthy and aggressively marketed to kids. A depressing piece of Kid Cuisine pseudo-chicken was apparently the last straw.

“Get this mic off of me.”

Ng told AdWeek that Freezerburns, a YouTube cottage industry with sponsors, merch, and hundreds of episodes in the can, had become depressing years ago. In 2012, with his initially college-age audience getting younger, he tried to make himself feel better by pivoting to market to moms. It didn’t work.

“My average audience is 19. My oldest child is nearly 12. I’m nearly 40,” he said.

Although he says the abrupt walk-out, over a kids’ meal with a How To Train Your Dragon 2tie-in that he found especially gross, “wasn’t staged,” it sounds like it had been in the works for a while.

Reviewing a garbage heap of packaged food for college kids is a living, after a fashion, and Ng is way too cynical and marketing-savvy to quit without an exit strategy.

“I would review a Hot Pocket over a vegan Indian meal because I knew the views would be 10 times larger. I could have reviewed what I wanted, but that wasn’t my goal. I was in it to build audience, prove that you could monetize by owning a niche and fine tune my camera presence,” he told AdWeek in an interview where he also hypes his next project.

Sure, it’s plausible that he had a sudden crisis of conscience and dropped the mic, but it would be a lot more believable if he hadn’t reviewed 1,000 of those horrible Hot Pockets and Kid Cuisines first.

The Disturbingly Inexact Science Of Food Expiration Dates

The Disturbingly Inexact Science Of Food Expiration DatesEXPAND

It’s an all too common ritual: A product in the kitchen passes its “best before” date, so you toss it. Trouble is, it was probably perfectly safe to eat — and you just wasted good food. This is a problem that’s only getting worse. Here’s what you need to know about “expired” foods — and how to make sure you’re eating safely.

Because most of us no longer live on farms, we’re utterly dependant on others to provide our food for us. We’re now divorced from the manufacturing process, so manufacturers have to tell us when their products are fresh and when they’re no longer good to eat.

This has led to a spate of labelling systems, and not all of them mean the same thing. Nor are they necessarily directed at the consumer. What’s more, they’re not centrally regulated or coordinated in any coherent way. For example, products can have “Best Before” dates, “Sell By” dates, and “Use By” dates — and it’s not always clear who these dates are being directed to, or what information is being conveyed.

‘Not an Indication of Safety’

Making matters even more confusing is the surprising revelation that expiration dates are not an indication of how safe the food is to eat. They’re not related to the risk of food poisoning or the presence of foodborne illnesses. That, dear consumer, is something you need to watch out for.

Rather, expiration labels are an indication of a product’s freshness. It’s a labeling standard used by food manufacturers to convey to stores and consumers when their products are no longer at peak freshness. Foods that are on the wrong side of their expiry dates are not necessarily inedible — it simply means that beyond this date, the manufacturer cannot guarantee the standard of their brand’s quality, including attributes like taste, color, texture, and so on. Simply put, those “sell by” dates are there to protect the reputation of the manufacturer.

Best before dates in the United States are not mandated by law. Except in one important case, however — infant formula. For this special category of food, calendar dates must be expressed in both month and day of the month. It must also contain an unambiguous explanation, such as “sell by” or “use before.” The only other exception is for milk or meat, where some jurisdictions are required to provide sell-by dates.

As noted, the state of food labelling is a bit of a mess today. Last year, a scathing report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Harvard Law showed that more than 90% of Americans may be prematurely throwing away food because they misinterpret food labels as indicators of food safety. A previous report by the NRDC revealed that Americans toss up to 40% of the food supply every year, equivalent to $165 billion. The same problem exists in Europe; a recent commission discovered that up to 100 million tons of food are wasted in Europe each year — and this waste often happens because of poor understanding of best before and use by dates.

Clearly, the labeling rules need to change (we’ll get into this in just a bit), but until that happens here’s what you need to know.

Read the Label

Because manufacturers use different terms, it’s important to understand what the packaging is telling you. These labeling types are the most common:

  • Sell-By: This date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. Consumers should buy the product before this date expires.
  • Best if Used By (or Before): This date indicates when a product maintains best flavor and quality, but it’s not a purchase or safety date.
  • Use-By: This is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. These dates are determined by the manufacturer of the product.
  • Closed or Coded Dates: These are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer, and are typically indecipherable to the end consumer.

Where Do These Dates Even Come From?

In order to determine when a product is no longer up to snuff, manufacturers recruit experts to tell them. One such expert firm is the National Food Lab located in Livermore, California.

This company takes food and leaves it on shelves for days, weeks, and even years to see how it holds up. Then, at controlled intervals, the food is presented to a highly trained panel of experts who assess the food for taste, smell, and texture. They then assign a food grade in numbers; the lower the number, the poorer the quality. Needless to say, the numbers go down as the food gets older.

Food manufacturers consider these numbers when determining best-before dates. So, if a product was designed to be a 7 when it was fresh, but gets a 6.2 after a certain length of time, the manufacturer can draw the line at that point. Interestingly, many foods that are assessed at lower values still taste good — and are safe to eat — it’s just that the manufacturer is no longer satisfied with the level of quality.

Still Good to Eat?

As noted, expiration dates don’t indicate safety. And as experts claim, they’re often still good to eat past the best-before date. An NPR report explains:

According to [John] Ruff, most products are safe to eat long after their expiration date. In fact, even meat or milk that’s clearly starting to spoil is not necessarily dangerous. “Very often, you won’t eat it because of the smell, and you probably won’t like the taste, but in a lot of cases, it’s unlikely to cause you illness,” he says.

That’s because it’s not the food that sat on the shelf too long that makes you sick, Ruff says. It’s the food that got contaminated with salmonella or listeria bacteria, or disease-causing strains of E. coli. And that food might not smell bad as it might have arrived in the store only yesterday.

“In 40 years, in eight countries, if I think of major product recalls and food poisoning outbreaks, I can’t think of [one] that was driven by a shelf-life issue,” Ruff says.

Canned food in particular has an exceedingly long shelf life. As noted in the NPR article, canned corn from 1934 still looked and smelled the same when opened in 1974. It had most of the usual compliments of nutrients, though there were lower levels of vitamin C and others.

Determining Storage Times

All this said, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says you should still exercise common sense when handling and storing perishable foods. Even though they’re technically no longer at “peak” quality, refrigerated products should still be safe if handled properly and kept at 40 °F (4.4 ºC) or below for the recommended storage times listed on this chart:

The Disturbingly Inexact Science Of Food Expiration DatesEXPAND

If a product has a “use-by” date, you should follow that date.

If product has a “sell-by” date or no date, cook or freeze the product by the times on this chart:

The Disturbingly Inexact Science Of Food Expiration DatesEXPAND

The USDA also offers this advice:

Foods can develop an off odor, flavor or appearance due to spoilage bacteria. If a food has developed such characteristics, you should not use it for quality reasons.

If foods are mishandled, however, foodborne bacteria can grow and, if pathogens are present, cause foodborne illness — before or after the date on the package. For example, if hot dogs are taken to a picnic and left out several hours, they will not be safe if used thereafter, even if the date hasn’t expired.

Other examples of potential mishandling are products that have been: defrosted at room temperature more than two hours; cross contaminated; or handled by people who don’t practice good sanitation. Make sure to follow the handling and preparation instructions on the label to ensure top quality and safety.

Fixing the Labeling Problem

Here are some more troubling statistics from the NRDC/Harvard study:

False Notions that Food is Unsafe: 91 percent of consumers occasionally throw food away based on the “sell by” date out of a mistaken concern for food safety even though none of the date labels actually indicate food is unsafe to eat.

Consumer Confusion Costs: an estimated 20 percent of food wasted in U.K. households is due to misinterpretation of date labels. Extending the same estimate to the U.S., the average household of four is losing $275-455 per year on food needlessly trashed.

Business Confusion Costs: an estimated $900 million worth of expired food is removed from the supply chain every year. While not all of this is due to confusion, a casual survey of grocery store workers found that even employees themselves do not distinguish between different kinds of dates;

Mass Amounts of Wasted Food: The labeling system is one factor leading to an estimated 160 billion pounds of food trashed in the U.S. every year, making food waste the single largest contributor of solid waste in the nation’s landfills.

To that end, they make the following recommendations:

1. Make “sell by” dates invisible to the consumer

2. Establish a reliable, coherent, and uniform consumer-facing dating system, with these five recommendations:

(a) Establish standard, clear language for both quality-based and safety-based date labels

(b) Include “freeze by” dates and freezing information where applicable

(c) Remove or replace quality-based dates on non-perishable, shelf-stable products

(d) Ensure date labels are clearly and predictably located on package

(e) Employ more transparent methods for selecting dates

3. Increase the use of safe handling instructions and “smart labels”

It could be a while — if ever — before we see such common sense changes put into place. Alternately, and as is being proposed in Europe, products with a very long shelf life could simply be made exempt from best before labels.

Victory for Jamie Oliver in the U.S. as McDonald’s is forced to stop using ‘pink slime’ in its burger recipe

  • TV chef was disgusted to discover ammonium hydroxide was being used by McDonald’s to convert fatty beef offcuts into a beef filler for burgers 
  • ‘Why would any sensible human being want to put ammonia-filled meat into their children’s mouths? asked Jamie Oliver
  • McDonald’s denies its hand had been forced by TV campaign

By JILL REILLY

After months of Jamie Oliver campaigning on his hit US television show, McDonald's has abandoned the beef filler from its burger patties

After months of Jamie Oliver campaigning on his hit US television show, McDonald’s has abandoned the beef filler from its burger patties

After years of trying to break America, Jamie Oliver has finally made his mark by persuading one of the biggest U.S fast food chains in the world to change their burger recipe.

McDonald’s have altered the ingredients after the Naked Chef forced them to remove a processed food type that he labelled ‘pink slime’.

The food activist was shocked when he learned that ammonium hydroxide was being used by McDonald’s to convert fatty beef offcuts into a beef filler for its burgers in the USA.

The filler product made headlines after he denounced it on his show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

‘Basically, we’re taking a product that would be sold at the cheapest form for dogs and after this process we can give it to humans’ said the TV chef.

Jamie showed American audiences the raw ‘pink slime’ produced in the ammonium hydroxide process used by producers named Beef Products Inc (BPI).

‘Pink slime’ has never been used in McDonald’s beef patties in the UK and Ireland which source their meat from farmers within the two countries.

Now after months of campaigning on his hit US television show McDonald’s have admitted defeat and the fast food giant has abandoned the beef filler from its burger patties.

US Department of Agriculture microbiologist Geral Zirnstein agreed with Jamie that ammonium hydroxide agent should be banned.

Scroll down for video

Up close: Jamie shocked American audiences by showing them the raw 'pink slime' produced in the ammonium hydroxide process used by producers named Beef Products Inc (BPI)

Up close: Jamie shocked American audiences by showing them the raw ‘pink slime’ produced in the ammonium hydroxide process used by producers named Beef Products Inc (BPI)

British chef Jamie Oliver shocked American audiences by showing them the raw 'pink slime' produced in the ammonium hydroxide process

British chef Jamie Oliver shocked American audiences by showing them the raw ‘pink slime’ produced in the ammonium hydroxide process

 

Food activist Jamie was shocked when he learned that ammonia hydroxide used by McDonald's to convert fatty beef offcuts into a beef filler for its burgers in the USA.

Food activist Jamie was shocked when he learned that ammonia hydroxide used by McDonald's to convert fatty beef offcuts into a beef filler for its burgers in the USA.

Seeing is believing: Jamie and a butcher demonstrated how the ‘pink slime’ is made on his show ‘Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution’ and said the process had no ‘respect for food, or people or children’

JAMIE OLIVER’S U.S FOOD CAMPAIGN

In 1999 Jamie Oliver began his TV chef career in the British TV series ‘The Naked Chef.’  He was awarded an MBE for his services to hospitality. But his healthy eating crusade, hasn’t always gone smoothly in the U.S.

  • Crying on TV: In 2010 while filming ‘Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution’ he broke down when he met serious resistance after theresidents of America’s country’s fattest city, Huntington, West Virginia, were uninterested in his advice. After a confrontation with school dinner ladies, the TV chef sobbed: ‘They don’t understand me. They don’t know why I’m here.’
  • Letterman setback: That year he suffered another setback with a doom-filled lecture from chatshow host David Letterman. The host told Oliver he believed diet pills were the only successful way to lose weight in the U.S. and that he expected humans to ‘evolve to the point where 1,000 years from now we all weigh 500-600lbs and it will be OK.’

‘Pink slime’ has never been used in McDonald’s beef patties in the UK and Ireland which source their meat from farmers within the two countries.

Now after months of campaigning on his hit US television show McDonald’s have admitted defeat and the fast food giant has abandoned the beef filler from its burger patties.

US Department of Agriculture microbiologist Geral Zirnstein agreed with Jamie thatammonium hydroxide agent should be banned.

He said: ‘I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labelling.’

The defiant chef is pleased at the decision by McDonald’s stop using the ammonium hydroxide processes meat.

He said: ‘Why would any sensible human being want to put ammonia-filled meat into their children’s mouths?

‘The great American public needs to urgently understand what their food industry is doing.’

McDonald’s denied its hand had been forced by Jamie’s campaign.

Todd Bacon, Senior Director of U.S. Quality Systems and Supply Chain with the fast food chain, said: ‘At McDonald’s food safety has been and will continue to be a top priority.

‘The decision to remove BPI products from the McDonald’s system was not related to any particular event but rather to support our effort to align our global beef raw material standards.

The 'golden arches' of a McDonald's restaurant.

McDonalds Bigmac burger

Denials: McDonald’s said its hand had not been forced by Jamie’s campaign

‘McDonald’s complies with all government requirements and food safety regulations.

‘Furthermore, we have our own food safety measures and standards in place throughout the entire supply chain to ensure that we serve safe, high quality food to every customer, every time they visit our restaurants.’

Two other chains Burger King and Taco Bell have earlier bowed to pressure and removed ammonium hydroxide processed ingredients from their products.

Nobody from Beef products Inc was available for comment.

 

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