Daily archives "October 22, 2012"

Good news on GMO’s, and quark’s, souls and stars

Good news on the GMO front
There’s good news from three different parts of the world regarding genetically-modified food. Locally, draft amendments have been published indicating that all food containing 5% or more GM ingredients must be labelled as such. Until now, the food industry has claimed that the regulations are ambiguous, and has mostly not labelled GMO’s, but this latest amendment removes all ambiguity, and labelling will be mandatory.

In India, thanks to widespread opposition and the work of activists such as Vandana Shiva, genetically-modified organisms have been banned. This is not permanent, but means they are banned until independent long-term studies have been done, and a controlled release plan implemented.

Finally, in the US, where GMO’s have gained the most foothold, California will soon be voting on Proposition 37, legislation to enforce mandatory labelling. Supporters of the proposal still lead in the polls, but companies such as Monsanto, Nestle, Pepsi, Coke and Kelloggs have pumped millions into a huge campaign against labelling, and thanks to their saturation of the media, support for the proposal has dropped from 67% to 48% in just two weeks.

Here’s hoping that our friends in California, as well as us locally, will soon be able to enjoy the same rights to know what’s in our food as much of the world takes for granted.

View Vandana Shiva’s Sydney Peace Prize lecture on our blog, where she describes influence such as the above as “corporate weapons of mass destruction”.

From village to quark
Camphill Village is an eco-village up the west coast working to provide care and employment for adults with disabilities, particularly those at risk within their families and communities. In the past they mainly cared for children with autism, while now it’s mostly children who have suffered abuse or neglect.

It’s a model eco-village, with residents working on the land, consuming what they produce, recycling much of their minimal waste, and producing seasonal products for sale.

Thanks to them, I also learnt this week that quark is not just a tiny element in the nucleus of an atom, but also a type of cheese!

Camphill have rebranded their cottage cheese as quark, the traditional German term. It’s the same cheese, although traditionally quark is made without rennet, while many commercial cottage cheeses do use rennet. It’s similar to Indian paneer, and is also called curd cheese, or white cheese.

Camphill are also offering a new, matured cheese.

Soul Food
Soul Food is the name of the jams and chutneys bottled by the Jolly Jammers, a group of women from the Lavender Hill communities Soil for Life works with. All are trained in Soil for Life’s natural growing methods and given in-depth training on preserve-making.

Currently we have plum jam in stock, as well as new additions mixed citrus marmalade, and a raw chutney made mostly almost entirely from Ethical Co-op ingredients.

Star Anise
There’s much to explore this week, with a host of new additions, but I’ll end with a mention of one of my favourite spices, the beautiful star anise. With a licorice-taste similar to regular anise, and a star-like appearance, it’s actually an unrelated plant related to magnolias. Traditionally used as a treatment for rheumatism and for digestion, it’s recently been in short supply after stocks were bought up, as an extract from star anise is a key ingredient in a particular medicine.

In the newsletter I didn’t mention the name, as it would have triggered every spam filter out there, but star anise is also a key ingredient in Tamiflu. After the shortage of star anise due to the bird flu scare, a synthetic alternative derived from e-coli was produced instead!

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

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Vandana Shiva’s Sydney Peace Prize Lecture

“If commerce starts to undermine life support, then commerce must stop, because life has to carry on.” This is the central premise Dr Vandana Shiva’s passionate address for the 2010 City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture, in which she lambasts global corporations for waging war against nature in the name of profits.

If you want to skip the introduction and go straight to Vandana Shiva’s talk, her lecture begins at the five minute point.

Vandana Shiva : Sydney Peace Prize Talk from WisdomKeepers Productions on Vimeo.