Quarrygirl.com, a blog devoted to “all things vegan, lots of things beer, and some things los angeles” just finished an undercover investigation of vegan restaurants in Los Angeles. Her question: are they really serving vegan food? The answer was, in many cases, no.
They went to 17 “vegan” restaurants, ordered takeout food, and took the samples to be tested. Great care was taken to insure against contamination. When the results were in, seven of the restaurants tested positive for “contamination”. It’s an interesting article, even if you aren’t into the vegan lifestyle. I wonder if anyone has ever done the same thing in Portland. You can read the post here.
From Mongabay.com, Madfish?: scientist warns that farmed fish could be a source of mad cow disease. Turns out some farmed fish are being fed cow byproducts. The theory is this could cause mad cow disease up the food chain to humans. The Journal of Alzemier’s Disease has called on food regulators to ban the practice.
The Washington Post is calling the Federal “organic” label into question.
Grated organic cheese, for example, contains wood starch to prevent clumping. Organic beer can be made from non-organic hops. Organic mock duck contains a synthetic ingredient that gives it an authentic, stringy texture.
In the end, the USDA has lax oversight into the entire organic certification program, to the point where the green label doesn’t really mean much anymore. Scary for those who like to think they are eating organic.
The USDA created the National Organic Program in 2002 to implement the law. By then, major food companies had bought up most small, independent organic companies. Kraft Foods, for example, owns Boca Foods. Kellogg owns Morningstar Farms, and Coca-Cola owns 40 percent of Honest Tea, maker of the organic beverage favored by President Obama.
That corporate firepower has added to pressure on the government to expand the definition of what is organic, in part because processed foods offered by big industry often require ingredients, additives or processing agents that either do not exist in organic form or are not available in large enough quantities for mass production.
Another choice quote:
“People are really hung up on regulations,” said Smillie, who is also vice president of the certifying firm Quality Assurance International, which is involved in certifying 65 percent of organic products found on supermarket shelves. “I say, ‘Let’s find a way to bend that one, because it’s not important.’ . . . What are we selling? Are we selling health food? No. Consumers, they expect organic food to be growing in a greenhouse on Pluto. Hello? We live in a polluted world. It isn’t pure. We are doing the best we can.”
It’s an interesting article; more than a little bit scary. You can read it here.
The New York Times has posted “The 10-Ingredient Shopping Trip“. Mark Bittman came up with a way to make a week’s worth of dinners with just a 10- ingredient shopping list.
There isn’t much news for Portland. As we reported before, Thistle, Eric Bechard’s new McMinville restaurant was supposed to be opening the 2nd of July. Now they are shooting for tomorrow, the 7th. Friends in the area tell me it might actually make the new date. Blossoming Lotus is opening an east side location on NE 15th, just north of Broadway in the old Paper Garden space. Finally, the NY Times posted a piece on the Voodoo donut burger at The Original downtown. I have no desire to try it – I’m sure ya’ll will let me know how it is.