“Scientists unlock chocolate genes”

Don’t mess with Mother Nature
Researchers have found the genes that code for the production of the cocoa butter in Theobroma cacao, needed to make sweets, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Studying the genes of Mother Nature’s finest crop cacao, researchers are finding ways to make the best chocolate in the world “better”. Better means, increased disease resistance and increased profitability to the grower.

Researchers have found genes that code for the production of cocoa butter, a substance highly prized in chocolate making, confectionery, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Most cocoa beans are already about 50 percent fat, but these 84 genes control not only the amounts fat produced, but quality of the cocoa butter.  Altering these genes might produce chocolate with better flavors, aromas and even “healthier” chocolate by influencing the production of flavonoids, natural antioxidants and terpenoids, hormones and pigments.
The team sequenced the DNA of a variety of Theobroma cacao, considered to produce the world’s finest chocolate. The Maya domesticated this variety of Theobroma cacao, Criollo, about 3,000 years ago in Central America, and it is one of the oldest domesticated tree crops. Today, many growers prefer to grow hybrid cacao trees that produce chocolate of lower quality but are more resistant to disease.
“Fine cocoa production is estimated to be less than 5 percent of the world cocoa production because of low productivity and disease susceptibility,” said Guiltinan, professor of plant molecular biology.
The researchers report in the current issue of Nature Genetics “consumers have shown an increased interest for high-quality chocolate made with cocoa of good quality and for dark chocolate, containing a higher percentage of cocoa, while also taking into account environmental and ethical criteria for cocoa production.”

Author: Mary Wolken, PhD., Ex. Dir CMA

Resources

Excerpts and Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/hrSLjG

“So sweet -plastic without petrochemicals”

The Sweetness of Biodegradable Plastics

A Tel Aviv University researcher is a new plastic made from corn starch and sugar. This plastic would be sustainable, biodegradable and are even tougher than those made from petrochemicals.

Now all that is needed is the catalyst to jump start the chemical reactions. Prof. Moshe Kol of Tel Aviv University’s School of Chemistry and his team are working with the University of Aachen in Germany and the University of Bath in England are working to make these “green” plastics stronger and more heat-resistant, allowing them to be used in a variety of ways, from the automotive industry to Starbucks coffee cups.

The type of plastic the partners are working on, polylactic acid or PLA, is a kind of biodegradable plastic made from renewable plant sources such as corn, wheat or sugarcane. It’s already used in bottles, bags, and film, and like polyester can even be woven into clothes.

He aims to make sustainable corn-based plastics complement or replace the petroleum-based plastics which can take a millenium to degrade, leaving harmful pollutants in the soil and in water. Corn-based plastic wouldn’t cause any adverse health effects and would be expected to biodegrade in a compost bin in a matter of months.

Resource

Excerpts courtesy of http://bit.ly/hp4odD

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/dZttMJ

"228 million eggs after being linked to an outbreak of salmonella poisoning"

Do you have any of these symptoms after eating eggs?
The most common symptoms of salmonella are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight hours to 72 hours of eating a contaminated product. It can be life-threatening, especially to those with weakened immune systems.The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said eggs from Wright County Egg in Galt, Iowa, were linked to several illnesses in Colorado, California and Minnesota. The CDC said about 200 cases of the strain of salmonella Continue reading “"228 million eggs after being linked to an outbreak of salmonella poisoning"”

"Save your change and use your pen to stop malnutrition"

Starvation kills. Malnutrition and dehydration can eliminated an individuals chance at developing a strong healthy body and mind and can cause death. 200 million children under 5 years of age are affected by malnutrition, with 90 percent living in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. And at any moment, at least 20 million children suffer from thedeadliest form of severe malnutrition. Malnutrition plays a huge role in child mortality because the immune systems of these children are less resistant to common childhood diseases. In fact, malnutrition contributes to at least one third of the eight million annual deaths of children under five of five.

Most of the damage caused by malnutrition occurs in children before they reach their second birthday.

This is the critical window of opportunity when the quality of a child’s diet has a profound, sustained impact on his or her health, physical and mental development. Breast milk is the only food babies need for the first six months. After this time, breastfeeding alone is not sufficient and the types of foods introduced into the diet are of paramount importance. Diets that do not provide the right blend of energy including high-quality protein, essential fats, and carbohydrates as well as vitamins and minerals can impair growth and development, increase the risk of death from common childhood illness, or result in life-long health consequences.

More clean water, protein, fruit and vegetables and less flour will eradicate malnutrition.

Tested strategies to address malnutrition are effective and are showing promising results in Mexico, Thailand, and Brazil, have reduced early childhood malnutrition through direct nutrition programs that ensure infants and young children from even the poorest families have access to quality foods, such as milk and eggs.

Although in Asian and African countries they want to tackle this problem by replicating successful complete food programs, the aid they are sent consists of fortified cereal blend of corn and soy only.  This GMO “food” will fill th ebelly of a starving child, but young child’s hunger, but does not provide proper nourishment.

International donor countries including the USA must end must support programs that don’t supply  the minimal nutritional needs of infants and young children.

Take action today to help Doctors Without Borders to change this food starvation policy,

Give all children a chance to grow up healthy.


Please sign the petition to help change the US policy and give what you can to help.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.starvedforattention.org

Image 1. courtesy of   http://bit.ly/cnz18k

Image 2. courtesy of   http://bit.ly/aQkswQ

"Healthy choices for the unborn"

Harmful chemicals are eaten daily by pregnant women.

This creates an automatic supply line for toxins to enter the newborns blood stream.

A “pre-polluted baby”

Environmental Working Group (EWG) studied the umbilical cord blood of ten Americans newborns. We found nearly 300 chemicals in their cord blood, including BPA, perchlorate, fire retardants, lead, mercury, and PCBs.

Stop pre-pollution, by enacting stronger chemical laws that will protect babies like Cal. The Kid-Safe Chemicals Act may be introduced this month.

Please sign the petition before then to show Congress that Americans want protection from these chemicals. We are just 5,375 signatures away.

Please help us create a safer word for our children.

Please support the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act today by signing our petition to Congress.

The chemicals we found in our testing are increasingly linked to serious long-term health effects like learning deficits, infertility, ADHD and even childhood cancer.

Making sure our children aren’t being born pre-polluted is too important to not take action. Sign our petition today to let Congress know it is time for them to act.

Thank you for standing up to protect children like Cal and helping us put toxic chemicals on Congress’ “to do” list. It’s time.
Ken Cook, President
Environmental Working Group
and EWG Action Fund

"Buyers of Whole Foods Store products -beware"

Whole Foods director told The Telegraph (UK) on August 6, 2009whole_foods_logo
that buyers of Whole Foods products have been deceived.

“We sell a bunch of junk. ” This admission was intended to get Wholefood Store owners to act.

Mr Mackey of WF apologised for losing sight of the American-based company’s health food roots and said all retailers had a responsibility to help tackle Britain’s (and the rest of the world’s) obesity crisis.

There needs to be a better balance. Will they now take the lead educating consumers and dare I say modeling good food behavior?

Resources
Excerpts courtesy of http://www.organicconsumers.org
Image courtesy of http://www.freewebs.com/lcwalk/whole_foods_logo.jpg


As Featured On EzineArticles

"FEDS sue over sale of inferior meat for school lunch program"

Bad meat for school lunches
Bad meat for school lunches

Do not mess with the Federal Government or the Humane Society of America-This time both are the good guys.

U.S. Department of Justice Joins Suit Filed by Humane Society of the United States on Behalf of American Taxpayers

A federal district court in Los Angeles unsealed a major False Claims Act lawsuit filed by The Humane Society of the United States against the two companies—Hallmark Meat Packing and Westland Meat Company Inc.—responsible for the downed animal abuse scandal last year in Chino, Calif. The HSUS’s investigation into the mistreatment of animals too sick or injured to walk, which exposed abuses at the country’s second largest supplier of ground beef to the National School Lunch Program, led to the largest meat recall in the nation’s history.
The U.S. Department of Justice for joining The HSUS in seeking to hold federal meat suppliers accountable when they fail to provide humane treatment of animals in accordance with federal law,” said Jonathan R. Lovvorn, vice president & chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS. “The meat industry should take notice that if they defraud federal agencies and the American taxpayers by abusing animals, there will be serious consequences for their inhumane and reckless actions.”

The suit wants to hold Hallmark Meat Packing and Westland Meat Company Inc.accountable for the downed animal abuse scandal last year in Chino, Calif. In the HSUS’s investigation into the mistreatment of animals too sick or injured to walk exposed abuses at the country’s second largest supplier of ground beef to the National School Lunch Program this led to the largest meat recall in the nation’s history.

Sounds yummy for our childrens tummies-not so much.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of HSUS.org

Meat Supplier Faces $150 Million Lawsuit for Using Sick and Injured Animals in the Federal School Lunch Program 5/1/2009.

Image courtesy of images google.com

Be true to organics-they will be true to you

True organic products are gaining momentum. Living more in harmony with the environment and lessorganic-food surrounded and filled with pollutants in our homes, food, environment, water and medicines.
The time has come, the consciousness is shifting and our industries including medicine, foods, education, agriculture must react to the consumers call to wholesomeness.

In La Crosse, Wisconsin the nation’s largest organic farming conference begins today. The organizer Eric Hatling with the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) says interest in organic is rapidly growing among both growers and shoppers. This event will focus 3,000 attendees producers, consumers and environmentalists encouraging them to share growing and marketing tips

Farmers are getting fair prices for their certified-organic products. Consumers want to know more about where their food comes from and how it’s produced.”

Hatling says perceptions and preferences about the food Americans eat are changing. For one thing, buyers don’t want food raised with synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, drugs or hormones.

Americans and people around the world are more concerned about how far their food has to travel before it reaches the consumers table. Freshness of the local products and buying locally supports their home economies.

Organic sales are growing by double-digits yearly even though they cost a little more they are cleaner, pesticide free and full of nutrition. The average commercial food or fruit grown by big farm has decreased in nutrition quality about 30% since the turn of the century.  It is time for more states to kick the pesticide habit, find ways to clean up the soil and go organic. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa are among the top states in organic production, he adds.
References

Excerpts courtesy of  Public news service.org
Midwest Conference Menu Highlights Organics” February 26, 2009
Image: organic tomatoes courtesy of  Greenexpander.com

Rural Farm land gold of the future

Conquering new lands is happening again. This type of take over of one country by another is happening through the buy out of the poorer country’s  arable lands which are now worth their weight in gold. As the world food shortage escalates and country’s run out of both food and water, countries short of resources and corporations desperate for profits are buying up arable land in emerging nations.

The non-governmental organizations representing the little poor guy are voicing alarm at this “global land grab,” which they say is threatening the survival of rural livelihoods in some parts of the world.

The practice is being carried out in part by countries which have little arable land and have been hit this year by soaring food prices, and by investors who are getting burned in the financial crisis and are tempted by the profits from food products.

“So governments that rely on imports to feed their people are snatching up vast areas of farmland abroad for their own offshore food production,” said the Spanish-based NGO Grain.

“On the other hand, food corporations and private investors, hungry for profits in the midst of the deepening financial crisis, see investment in foreign farmland as an important new source of revenue.”

The result is that fertile agricultural land is becoming privatized and concentrated and controlled by big agriculture and investment banks for GMO food production and the devastation of the environment.

The Arab countries in the Gulf, China, Egypt, India, Japan and South Korea are looking to buy out large areas in the Philippines, Cambodia, Uganda and Brazil, said Grain. While in South Korean  a group Daewoo Logistics is negotiating with the government of Madagascar for the acquisition of 1.3 million hectares of land, the equivalent of more than half of the land under cultivation in the country, to produce maize and palm oil.

The buying up of arable land “is a phenomenon of huge magnitude” which has undergone “a sudden acceleration,” said Paul Mathieu, of the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation’s Land Tenure and Management unit.

This could spell the end of small-scale farming, and rural livelihoods, in numerous places around the world.

Increasing transparency in transactions between investor states and local communities giving up territory is needed. The negotiations between outside investors and the local community,need to be clear and fair to both sides.

Resources
Global land grab’ causing alarm among NGOs – Fabien Zamora  Dec 23, 2008. Terra Daily Express.

WHO sets melamine limits

WHO sets first limits for safe melamine levels in food-safe this is an industrial chemical that has a cumulative effect on living kidney tissues.

GET RID OF IT1melamine-chem

Demand to know how many products and how much melamine and cyanuatic acid its cousin is tainting our milk and food supply, Then do not buy from companies that use these poisons.

Melamine has been routinely mixed into Chinese milk and dairy products to give them the impression of having higher protein content and a richer flavor, Cyanuratic acid has been used to clean equipment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on December 5, 2008 issued safety limits for melamine levels in food as international concern mounted over a widening tainted food scandal in China.

It is the first time WHO experts have issued safety limits for the use of the industrial chemical and they stressed that melamine should not be used in food at all.

The so-called Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) has been fixed at 0.2 mg per kilogramme of body weight. This means that a person who weighs 50kg can tolerate up to 10mg of melamine per day, said the WHO.

For how long is it tolerable for our neonats and our infants?

The UN agency stressed however that the industrial chemical “should not be in food” even though traces are sometimes unavoidable?

“The TDI is meant to help national authorities set safe limits in food for withdrawal purposes should melamine be detected as a result of intentional adulteration,” added the WHO.

The scandal has led many countries around the world, including the 27-nation European Union, to ban Chinese milk imports and Chinese foods containing soya and Chinese-made baking powder will also have to be tested after high levels of melamine were found.

How come they can do something about it while the US does little to nothing to protect our children? We have no idea if melamine is effecting any other age group.

China said Monday that 294,000 children had been made ill by consuming dairy products containing melamine, with 154 still in serious condition.

China said six deaths since September may have been caused by tainted dairy products. The “confirmed ” death toll so far is three infants.

Beware of tainting of prooducts any food or condiment that has been in contact with melamine including chicken eggs, soya products, candy any Chines food products are suspect now.

The full impact of melamine in international food products and agriculture stock and their feed has just begun to be felt.

BUY CERTIFIED ORGANIC PRODUCTS.
WHO sets first limits for safe melamine levels in food – Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) Dec 5, 2008 Seed Daily.com
http://www.seeddaily.com/reports/WHO_sets_first_limits_for_safe_melamine_levels_in_food_999.htmlhttp://www.seeddaily.com/reports/WHO_sets_first_limits_for_safe_melamine_levels_in_food_999.htmlEED DAILY

image courtesy

http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/summary/summary.cgi?cid=7955