photo: State Library of New South Wales via Flickr


From the WTF Food News Report:

“The China Daily newspaper reported that the Ministry of Agriculture issued a notice earlier this week on its website announcing it will carry out 6,450 random spot checks on fresh milk this year – underscoring official concerns that dairy producers may still be trying to use illegal and dangerous methods to boost the protein content of their milk.

The random tests will look for trace amounts of melamine, the chemical that was found to be widely used in Chinese dairy products in 2008 and blamed for killing six children and sickening more than 300,000.

Thirty percent of the checks will also look for leather-hydrolyzed protein, a toxic substance extracted from leather scraps that manufacturers have used to artificially boost the protein content of milk, the paper said.”

This use of hydrolyzed leather proteins to dope milk is not new; a dairy company was shut down in 2009 for doing the same thing. The chemicals which are used in the process, potassium dichromate and sodium dichromate, cause osteoporosis in adults and are deadly to children. Although the government ordered the complete destruction of milk and dairy products in 2008, it was up to producers to do it themselves and it seems that these doped products have been hoarded and are being re-released into the markets. Read more at Tainted Milk.  . . .

And, in a case of (as Dr. Kirk Murphy puts it) Mother Nature batting last: Up to 10% of rice grown in China is contaminated with heavy metals.

“This week’s edition of the New Century magazine cited studies showing that large amounts of Chinese rice have been tainted with heavy metals like cadmium for years but that little has been done to highlight the dangers.

“During China’s fast-paced industrialization, activities such as mining have sprung up everywhere, releasing into the environment chemical elements like cadmium, arsenic, mercury and other harmful heavy metals,” the report said.

“These harmful heavy metals have spread through the air and water, polluting a rather large area of China’s land … a complete chain of food contamination has existed for years.”

Given that the Chinese media themselves are openly publishing this information is an indication of just how bad this is; if the government felt they could still hide it, they probably would.
Source: Contaminated Rice.

China is the third largest food importer into the US. They are number one on the FDA’s Import Refusal List – and that is only picking up the products that actually have “made in China” on them. As we have seen from the doped honey cases, Chinese producers have very clever and extensive third party systems which export to countries, where other distributers repackage break down and repackage items with the new countries’ names on them.

For more: Chinese Food Imports Report. For the import refusal lists – by country and product item, see FDA Food Import Refusal Lists

So, ahem, let me reiterate the following:

Eat local.

Buy local.

Look your farmers, fisherpeople, orchardists in the eye and ask them the important questions: what are you feeding? What are you injecting? How are you processing – who is doing your processing? When was this harvested? What are you spraying.

It’s your family. Know what you are putting on the table and into their mouths.

And for something a little bit more cheery:

My mouth has gotten a severe case of cabin fever this week. I needed something zippy and made this. The protein source is shrimp (grown in Belize! I swear it!), but you could easily substitute tofu, some form of beans (garbanzos would work well), chicken, or another form of firm, bland white fish. If you want to serve this over rice or noodles, make sure you take care of that first because once you get started with the Jalfrezi, it goes very fast and you don’t want this sitting around while you make rice.

Shrimp Jalfrezi Style

3 T. vegetable oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
3 dried red chilies, broken (I used 3 Hungarian hot peppers from the grocery store, with the seeds taken out and cut into strips)
3 serrano green chilies, slit down the sides and seeded (I used Anaheim peppers)
1 large red onion, peeled and diced
1 large tomato, deseeded and diced
2 medium bell peppers, deseeded and diced
2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled, cut into julienne
½ cup of tomato puree (I used a cup of crushed tomatoes)
1 pound of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (again, you should just think about this as ‘1 pound of some source of protein and substitute as you have it)
½ tsp turmeric powder

1. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil and add the cum seeds. When they begin to sizzle, add the red and green chilies, onion, diced tomato, ginger and bell peppers. Saute on high heat for about 2 minutes.
2. Add the tomato puree and cook for 3-4 minutes
3. Add the shrimp (or your source of protein), turmeric and sauté for 3-4 minutes oruntil the shrimp are cooked through. The veggies will still have a slight crunch to them. Serve hot.

This has a nice bite but was not hot, probably because we did not use the dried red peppers; your tolerance for heat might make you modify. This serves four people. Because I served it with rice, I had a lot of left overs and they reheat (either on the stove or in a microwave) really well.

Courtesy of “The Everything Indian Cookbook” by Monica Bhide, Adams Media, 2004

Bon Appetit!
(you guys know the drill — for more of this and other Aunty Toby things, Kitchen Counter Economics