Legal Ban in Attempt to Ban Cameras From Livestock Farms

source; NPR - A Legal Twist In The Effort To Ban Cameras From Livestock Plants
source; NPR – A Legal Twist In The Effort To Ban Cameras From Livestock Plants

This story is directly from NPR. I don’t usually re-blog stories but, after reading this article I was horrified and outraged at the level of cruelty animals are subjected to that are considered “normal industry practices”. Bear in mind this story takes place in US, I don’t know the situation in Canada.

Bill 343 will essentially lessen the level of accountability of livestock producers by stiffing undercover investigations of animal cruelty.

Tammie Bryant, a professor at UCLA School of Law who focuses on animal law, admits, “legal action usually only occurs if there is media coverage, public outrage and pressure to prosecute.”

Some animal cruelty examples NPR gave was gouging a young calf’s eyes.

“Take the case of USDA veterinarian and slaughterhouse inspector . In 2010, Wyatt testified before a House subcommittee that, on several occasions, he was either overruled or threatened with demotion or transfer after he told superiors about instances of extreme animal abuse he’d witnessed.”

He witnessed the butchering of live animals.

For the full story on NPR – A Legal Twist In The Effort To Ban Cameras From Livestock Plants

Nestle Chairman Says Water is Not a Human Right

In a recently released interview with We Feed The World, Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck makes some astonishing claims, that water should be privatized and it is not a human right.

Nestle is the largest water distribution company in the world and the 27th largest company global company overall. With so many employees why would it makes any sense that they are socially responsible?

“After 15 years of eating GM food products in the usage no single case of illness has occurred from eating them to date… It’s hypocrisy more than anything else”, Brabeck

I guess Brabeck, only eats processed junk food and buys

He goes on to say water should be privatized, claiming reps by NGO reps who pushes for public water access are extreme. “As a human being you should have the right to water, that’s an extreme”

He believes that it is a social responsibility of any Chairman to make as much profit as possible so people will have jobs.

This is unfortunately not the first time Nestle has been reported for exploiting water. In the small Pakistani community of Bhati Dilwan, a former village councilor says children were getting sick by filthy water. Coincidentally, Nestle dug a deep well that were depriving locals of portable water. “The water is not only very dirty, but the water level sank from 100 to 300 to 400 feet,” Dilwan says.

All in the new documentary film “Bottled Life by Swiss filmmaker URs Schnell and journalist Res Ghrigner.

In view of the fact that every day more children die from drinking dirty water than AIDS, war, traffic accidents and malaria put together, Maude Barlow, a former UN chief advisor for water issues, states: “When a company like Nestlé comes along and says, Pure Life is the answer, we’re selling you your own ground water while nothing comes out of your faucets anymore or if it does it’s undrinkable – that’s more than irresponsible, that’s practically a criminal act.”

Inspiring Awesomeness with Food

Inspiring Awesomeness with Food
I visited my blog today and realized my most recent post was on BC Family Day, well over a month ago. I’ve been guest posting on so many other blogs that I have neglected my own. Truth, I am tired of writing restaurant reviews. There are hundreds of Vancouver food blogs writing on the same damn restaurants and the same dishes, with similar opinions and pictures. It gets boring! I’ve been doing this since 2010, something has to change.

Those danm obnoxious food bloggers…who think they are Anthony Bourdain

Food bloggers as a group have been known to be greedy, petty and generally obnoxious. I’ve seen an example, when a blogger sat down and before he ordered said “I am (blog). Personally, I wouldn’t give a shit if you are a food blogger, why would I treat you any differently than other patrons here?  “Fine, I have 3000 twitter followers, so don’t fuck up my meal, or I will send one tweet out and that would end your business” I haven’t actually heard anyone say that but, I can read between the lines. You are no Anthony Bourdain, you are just a prick.

Dining = Food + People

What my blog has given me is a platform to build connections, a network of people who are passionate about what they do, they want to inspire, change and create. They are passionate about cooking and continually test boundaries, create and inspire environmental changes by creating a program to reduce food waste.  This is why I’m still writing, so that I can inspire, change and hopefully create a little awesomeness on the way.

I haven’t moved away from food, I love staying informed, not just about the newest restaurant openings instead, about the people and their stories behind the food they have created.

When I went to Yaletown L’Antipasto, my friend “slipped” that I was reviewing their restaurant. Side note, I really hate when that happens, I feel like I’m being stalked and scrutinized throughout my meal. Instead of just talking about what’s in the dishes, we talked about Matti, Chef and Co-Owner of L’Antipasto. His dreams to one day have his own farm where he could grow his own food, and have a small rustic restaurant at the farm.

He loves local ingredients because he knows how it was grown, packaged and delivered, ensuring that when his produce arrives it’s still at its peak. He understands, not every dish has to be complicated, sometimes it’s better to be simple.

So when my friend mentioned that her dish was a little bland, it was just tomatoes, olive oil and a few other herbs.  I understood, that it was meant to be this way. The quality of the ingredients itself was amazing. Educating her on what a great fresh tomatoes and quality olive oil was supposed to taste like. The olive oil was from a Co-op farm in Italy, who still manually presses. (My explanation went a little deeper than that, I even called Matti over).  With her deeper understanding, she was able to appreciate her food.

Inspiring Social Changes With Food

Another person that I was able to meet because of my blog was Jonathan Chovancek, of Kale & Nori Catering and Bittered Slings Extract. He is very inspiring, his enthusiasm and passion for social and eco change through food.  He has taken upon himself to ensure his clients and their guests consume ingredients that support the sustainable food movement, doing extra due-diligence to track the movement of his food. “Most food is sold from origin to distributor to sub distributor. Getting to the source, knowing where the food originated and what was fed, how it was grown is important. How long has it been dead, picked, preserved. Understanding that the quality is at its peak for only a few hours and from that point on it is diminishing”, Jonathan said.

Our meeting was an eye opener. I am a firm believer that food can create social and economic change. The rise of popularity in quinoa has created an economic and social shift for farmers and consumers in Chile, it also has driven up the price for local consumers. It is a staple, similar to white rice to Chinese but, with the high demand in the western nations, they much rather have it exported then sold locally, driving up the local prices.

So what does this mean for Food Persuasion?

I will continue to blog with a purpose, to inspire people, hopefully to do something awesome. Even something as little as making you pause and think for a few seconds about the food you are about to consume is enough, at least for now.

Local Dragon’s Den Success, Celebrating Urban Farming

Tarren Wolfe, owner and inventor of Living Produce Aisle and a Dragon’s Den success story, takes fresh and local produce to the next level. Located in Gastown, customers will be able to choose from a dozens of different micro greens and herbs and have them freshly cut right from the urban cultivators.

ned-tarren living produce aisle

Their menu created by Four Season’s Executive Chef Ned Bell, mainly consists of smoothies and salads. A delicious recipe below – tried and tested.

Ned Bell - Living Produce Aisle

Urban cultivator was only offered for commercial uses, have been miniaturized for consumer consumption. Recommended for anyone who wants to take control of what they eat and start growing their own greens and herbs 365 days a year.

Skeptical at first, while I get the whole grow your own food sell, how was this green, this thing is on 24 hours a day, everyday. Upon further discussion, Urban Cultivators has the same energy output as a dishwasher.

Commercial Urban Cultivator - LPA

Ned Bell was spending around $2000/ month on fresh herbs and micro greens at the Four Seasons, an investment in one of these industrial sized ‘farm in a box’ retails for $6000 turned out to be a huge money saver. The home model produces about $1000 worth of greens per year, paying for itself in approximately two years.

For regular consumers like myself, I’d stick to purchasing pots. The greens were perfect, no yellowing, no holes where bugs nibbled. Walking in there are rows and rows of green machines, not even a designer landscape artist could reach to this level of perfection.

micro greens - Living Produce Aisle

All seeds are non-GMO and organic, Wolfe’s main supplier is Mumm’s from Saskatchewan.

Chef Ned’s “Sweet, Salty, Nutty and Fruity” Cranberry Hazelnut Honey Balsamic Salad

Artisan lettuce, Pea Tendrils, Beat Tops, Arugula, Kale Micro’s, locally grown and roasted Hazelnuts, locally grown Cranberries and Chef Ned’s Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups canola oil
  • 2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 4 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp cracked black pepper

Method:

Puree everything in a Vita Mix Blender. Check for seasoning and adjust with sea salt and pepper to taste.

 Additional Applications:

  • This dressing is great on any mixed greens or lettuces.
  • It is also a great dip for vegetables or fruits (apples, pears melon)
  • Try it with a warm potato salad, mixed bean salad, green beans, asparagus or your favourite pasta salad or cooked quinoa.
  • Serve with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Hazelnuts sprinkled on top

Enjoy

Food and Menu Trends for 2013

greens

Here is what to be expected on our menus in 2013.

Beef represents a big challenge for food service operators for the next year, and very likely passed down to consumers. The 6% increase in cattle prices prompted a 8% increase in ground beef and 14% increase on choice steak cuts prices in 2012. To further the challenge, 2013 beef product is expected to decrease by 5% translating to an increase in prices to be record high by spring 2013.

The health conscious consumer. The trend of menu labeling will increase nutrition awareness amongst consumers promoting healthier ingredients like Kale, and whole grains, quinoa and farro.

Lightening our favourites. Our favourite heavy calorie meals are being lightened. CarlsJr tweeted “With only 490 calories in our NEW Jalapeno Turkey Burger, U can make a resolution to eat @CarlsJr every day.”

Game meat, specifically, elk, bison and venison. Consumers are becoming increasing adventurous and won’t mind paying extra $ for added quality.
Chicken breast Overkill. It’s a race to see who can use more chicken breast on their menus.

My favourite trend, is the farm to table concept. Restaurants are ordering local products, and regularly changing upscale comfort foods. You will see more local artisan products and local craft beers.

Heavier food marketing for millennials promoting for Group Grazing. Small share plates, and even street food vendors inspire cravability.

Starbucks Rolling out Reusable Plastic Cups

Starbucks Takes A Step Towards A More Affordable Sustainable Culture

source: Starbucks

Whether this is a smart marketing ploy from the Seattle base coffee giant or a true effort to help consumers move towards becoming more environmentally conscious, Starbucks will be rolling out reusable cups starting today, any customer who brings the cups back for a refill receive a $.10 discount. The cups cost $1, making it a lot more affordable compared to the $20 Starbucks coffee travel mugs.

It might not be a huge discount but it is a step towards consumers becoming more environmentally conscious.

During the past few weeks researching and blogging for my Demystifying Our Food Series, I’ve really been more conscious of the food I consume and how it is consumed. No, I am not a tree hugging hippie, I am inspired by the people that continues to go the extra mile when producing or purchasing sustainable food, ensuring that we as consumers continue to have access to healthier options.

 

Related Articles: Demystifying our Food Series

Tips On Choosing Your Bird This Christmas

Starbucks Rolling out Reusable Plastic Cups

 

Tips On Choosing Your Bird This Christmas

The second installment to my demystifying our food series, uncovering truths in the foods we consume.  As a host and chef on CBC’s Village on a Diet, and guest on numerous regular TV features, owner of Bittered Sling Extracts and finally Co-owner of Kale & Nori Catering, Jonathan Chovancek has got his work cut out for him. Chef Jonathan – Kale & Nori

Source: Hello Vancity
Chef Jonathan – Kale & Nori

I caught up with him at Blenz for a late coffee. What caught my interest other than his abundant energy was his passion when he spoke of promoting a sustainable food culture, its pitfalls and triumphs. We can all agree that the organic, sustainable, ethical food movement has become a political and billion dollar behemoth. There will always be people trying to take advantage, which impedes the movement’s growth by making consumers skeptical.

Champions to the Cause
Jonathan and a few other chefs in Vancouver have to taken it upon themselves to preserve the movement’s core values. Jonathan goes the extra distance to ensure that his clients and guests of Kale & Nori Culinary Arts Catering consume ingredients that supports a sustainable food movement, meaning antibiotics free, free of dangerous chemicals and pesticides and ethically raised. Ethically raised, I don’t mean coddling the animals. They should not be so confined that they cannot move, so fat that their legs give out and pumped up with drugs when they start to get sick or start developing cancers.

Going the Extra Mile
To ensure that the quality of the ingredient is what is promised we need to know the source of the ingredients. “Most food is sold from origin to distributor to sub distributor. Getting to the source, knowing where the food originated and what is was fed, how it was grown is important. How long has it been dead, picked, preserved. Understanding that the quality is at its peak for only a few hours and from that point on it is diminishing.”

The Cheaters and Scammers

source:dawn.com
Chickens penned, poultry processing

Source: Dawn.com

There is a colossal difference between “Antibiotic Free” chicken and “Raised Without Antibiotics”. Jonathan compared it to professional sports, where technology has allowed the farming industry to effectively mislead consumers to believing they are buying a healthy product. Chickens may still have been pumped with drugs , it would have been already flushed out during testing. I do want to point out, there are still independently owned farms not controlled by the monopoly food producers. They go the extra mile to ensure their food is sustainably raised.

Chicken Farm Testing and Protocols
Drugs does not refer to hormones or steroids, which were been banned in Canada since the 1960’s. I’ve reached out to Marty Brett, representative for the Chicken Farmers of Canada – CFC for a comment. For conventional chickens, they do not do on-farm testings, during the time at the processing plant random tests are conducted usually by the CFIA to ensure there are no drug residues left in the birds. Each medicine has its own withdrawal time, for example if it is given to the bird too late in the cycle, there will still be residues of the drug left. CFC claimed “to date no random testing has found residues in chickens”.

Chicken farmers will need to abide by the On-Farm Food Safety Assurance Program which includes protocols from our Animal Care Program, which require stringent record-keeping for every flock that is accompanied to the processing plant. Including, grow-out period, type of feed, temperature of barn, water testing. These legal binding forms are then audited by 3rd parties in each province at various intervals, all led by the CFIA. Farmers in violation of these guidelines face stiff penalties like stripping their quota which prevents them from selling chickens. I highly recommend reading CFC’s section on Understanding Your Choices, which compares the different choices, free run, free range, organic chicken. It’s a great read.

What Should Consumers Do?
Ask a lot of questions. While consumers, myself included purchase meats or produce at chain grocery stores and by that point it been re-distributed from the original source a few times, the purchaser will still be able to provide very useful information. “Putting the onus on the distributors to provide consumers with full disclosure is challenging and there a court cases pending right now about labeling our food. We must ask more questions of the people serving and selling our food and make the decision with our dollars to not support unethical industries”, answered Jonathan

Related Articles: Demystifying Our Food Series

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