Eggplant for India, a wonder pigment for the eyes, and some more green stuff

No GMO eggplant for India
India has placed a six-month moratorium on the launch of a new genetically-modified aubergine. The aubergine, which has a bacterium introduced that’s poisonous to insects, was rejected by the environment minister after strong opposition from state governments and the lack of consensus from scientists.

It would have been the first genetically-modified food crop to be permitted for cultivation in India (India grows GM cotton) and opponents feared it would have set a poor precedent of allowing more varieties through with the minimum of testing.

The pressure is building on India, let’s hope it holds.

Lutein is a carotenoid, an organic pigment found in plants. Carotenoids act as anti-oxidants in the body, and a diet high in carotenoids is essential for vibrant health.

There are over 600 carotenoids, and lutein is one that’s key for the eyes. It’s concentrated in a small part of the retina essential for central vision. High lutein intake is associated with a reduction in macular degeneration, the key cause of blindness in older people.

So which foods are high in lutein? Most of the green leafy vegetables have high levels, but there’s one that stands out. As I was told, if you’re looking for eye health, don’t think carrots, think… kale! Yes, kale tops the lot, a good reason not to go ”off yer kail”.

But that’s not the only green stuff we’ve got. New on the site this week is spirulina. At the UN World Food Conference in 1974, spirulina was declared best food for the future. It’s a fantastically healthy food, brimming with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. 65% protein by weight, and 12% more digestable than beef, and grown right here in the Western Cape. Available in powder or tablet form, and the tablets, unlike most, don’t contain any binder, just pressed spirulina.

Spirulina suffers, deservedly in my opinion, from a reputation of being rather unpleasant to taste. The thought of spirulina juice makes even kale juice seem delectable by contrast. So, it goes best with other foods, and is disguised extremely well by chocolate. A regular diet of chocolate-spirulina smoothies should have you glowing with joy and health in no time!

To order, head on over to – there are a few other new products lurking this week as well.

Have a great week,
the Ethical Co-op team

Comment ( 1 )

  1. daniel

    Hey Ian and ethical - Yep GM brinjals put on hold in India, but not according to South Africa's Farmers Weekly magazine, which clearly gets some good funding from Monsanto. In their 12th Feb edition their first article is titled '2009 Golden year for GM crops', -written by a Monsanto rep. In it they report "The Genetic Engineering Approval Commitee of India has approved bt Brinjal for commercial release". The article, and front cover, also states (seems more of a boast) that 75% of maize in SA is now GM, obviously not mentioning the crop failures suffered by some GM maize farmers in SA last year. I actually picked the magazine up on a whim just to see if GM was mentioned anywhere in it. What I found was a little shocking - the celebration of GM as 'sustainable farming', and the usual dross about saving our health and feeding the planet - as well as other sentiments expressed throughout the mag that makes one feel that such farmers the world could do without. Anyway, I'm wriitng to the editors to query all the stuff about GM. This is the mag that SA farmers most subscribe to. I'll let you know if I get any feedback, and suggest more people write to them to...