Category Archives: Food safety

How to eat flowers without poisoning yourself

I spent a week adding a floral touch to my meals – but if you don’t know what you’re doing, swiping flowers from the meadow can be a risky business

There are ups and downs in the world of edible flowers. By her own admission, Jan Billington, who grows and sells them from her organic farm in Devon, “smells amazing”. On the downside, she is regularly stung by Italian honey bees and is badly allergic, “although it’s just a matter of swelling”, she says. “It goes down eventually.”

Billington sells seasonal flowers to chefs and cocktail-makers, but more recently she has begun selling to amateur cooks who are hoping to inject a little personality into their cooking. Edible flowers are in the spotlight, or rather the polytunnels (thanks to the frost), because of Instagram, where they are used to zhoosh up food shots, and because of the rise of veganism, where they provide a bit of textural variation.

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Source: gad

How the sushi boom is fuelling tapeworm infections

As eating raw fish has become more popular, gruesome tapeworm tales have emerged. But how worried should sashimi lovers be – and how else might we become infected?

The good news, said A&E doctor Kenny Bahn, was that the patient who had turned up at the emergency department was not dying. That is about the only happy element of the story Bahn, who works at a hospital in California, went on to tell on This Won’t Hurt a Bit, a medical podcast, about a man who arrived at hospital carrying a plastic bag. Inside the bag, wrapped around the cardboard tube of a toilet roll, was a 1.7-metre (5ft 6in) tapeworm. Bahn measured it once he had unravelled it on the hospital floor.

The patient had complained of abdominal pain. During a bout of bloody diarrhoea, reports Bahn, “he says: ‘I look down and I look like there’s a piece of intestine hanging out of me.’ What’s racing through his mind is he thinks he’s dying … He grabs it and he pulls on it and it keeps coming out. ‘What is this long piece of entrail?’ And he picks it up and looks at it and what does it do?” There is a dramatic pause to enhance the horror. “It starts moving.”

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Source: gad

In its own ‘war on plastic’, the UK government is a deserter | Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

The 25-year deadline spells doom for many ocean species. One supermarket’s pledge to ban plastics puts the target to shame

The prime minister has declared war on plastic, with an announcement that the government hopes to “eliminate all avoidable plastic waste” within 25 years. You could say that this week saw the first troops landing on our plastic-strewn beaches. But, rather than our ministers or MPs, they turned out to be the shelf-stackers and checkout workers of Iceland supermarkets.

Those shop workers could well be among the first to handle a new kind of plastics-free packaging that the world so badly needs. While the war may last well beyond next Christmas, Iceland has pledged victory over plastic packaging within five years – 20 years ahead of Theresa May’s deadline. This is, of course, good news, because the government’s war wasn’t looking likely to liberate anything any time soon.

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Source: gad

Bacon with banned additive among risks of US-UK trade deal

Soil Association issues top 10 food safety concerns posed by a transatlantic free-trade deal

The sale of US bacon produced with additives strong enough to cripple pigs, chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef, have been listed by campaigners as three of the top 10 food safety risks posed by a US free-trade deal.

Use of the pork additive ractopamine alongside the more publicised controversial practice of washing chicken in chlorine or feeding cattle growth hormones have been highlighted in a report by the Soil Association as chief among the concerns of a post-Brexit era.

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Source: gad

Lactalis will withdraw 12m boxes of baby milk in salmonella scandal

Emmanuel Besnier, chief executive of French dairy giant, says all products from contaminated factory will be recalled

The head of a French dairy giant at the centre of an international salmonella scandal has promised to withdraw 12m boxes of powdered baby milk from the supermarket shelves of 83 countries.

Emmanuel Besnier, the scion of the secretive family behind one of the world’s biggest dairy groups, was speaking publicly for the first time since an outcry erupted over claims the company hid the salmonella outbreak at a plant making the product.

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Source: gad