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I'm kinda going through my email and I get a zillion food-related forwards each day. I thought some might be of interest around here. Anyone like fish in their ice cream? News of that and more below the flip...

(I've also got an action item in here, tucked away at the bottom)

The following text comes from the Dec 2006 issue of The Milkweed newspaper and it is by Paris Reidhead (I didn't make that name up.) The long story short is: Unilever (owner of many ice cream brands you've heard of) is putting genetically modified fish protein in its ice cream. Mmmmm....

Unilever, the British-Dutch global consumer marketing products giant, is the largest producer of ice cream and frozen novelties in the U.S. Unilever's brands sold in the U.S. include Breyer's ice cream, Ben&Jerry's ice cream, Klondike ice cream bars and Popsicle products.

Specifically, Breyer's Light Double-Churned, Extra Creamy Creamy Chocolate ice cream, as well as a Good Humor ice cream novelty bar, contain the genetically- modified fish "antifreeze" proteins.

Unilever's scientists have patented, and the company is using ice cream products sold in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, "antifreeze" protein substances from the blood of the ocean pout (a polar ocean species). That substance is produced through genetically modified (GM) yeast, in large vat batches. Unilever's ice cream products that contain "ice structuring protein" (ISP) contain the material at the level of .01% of finished product volume.

Did they test this stuff for safety? Sorta. They submitted data showing that codfish blood proteins are OK for people. The only glitch? The ice cream doesn't use codfish blood proteins. Sure, ocean pout is related to codfish in some way or another, but not super-closely (they aren't even in the same sub-class).

Why does fish belong in ice cream anyway? The company says that it helps the ice cream re-freeze properly after it's melted.

Unilever touts the benefits of the fish "anti-freeze" protein as "crystallization" when ice cream products warm (above proper temperatures) and then are refrozen. In truth: the fish "ant-freeze" proteins look like one more trick in the corporate bag of tricks to produce cheaper products . . . without regard to serious safety human safety consideration.

Story #2: GM Mad-Cow-Proof Cows

I found this one right on Yahoo!. The current theory about mad cow is that it is caused by a certain protein going haywire. The proteins that spread the disease are known as "prions" (for "infectious proteins"). Well... if you make the cow without the offending protein, then the cow can't get sick, right?

The GM cows are currently being tested (i.e. they've had mad cow brains injected into their brains and scientists are monitoring them to see if they die) to prove that this really works.

I've got an easier solution though: Don't feed rendered cows to pigs and don't feed rendered pigs to cows; don't feed rendered cows to chickens, and don't feed chicken litter to cows. I think that might solve the problem pretty well.

Action Item: Oppose Clones in the Food Supply

The following comes from Family Farm Defenders. The FDA wants to allow clones into the food supply, unlabeled. We've got from now to April 2nd to comment. Instructions are below.

On Thurs. 12/28/06 the FDA released its decision on cloned milk and meat, basically asserting that they are "substantially equivalent" to conventional livestock products and hence fit for human consumption. This determination was hardly surprising in light of the FDA's earlier approval of other dubious food products and processes such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and irradiation.

Given the FDA's trackrecord, it is also unlikely that the agency will require consumer labeling since that could lead to potential corporate liability if there are adverse human health effects. This is especially relevant if cloned products are dumped on the market as a byproduct of biopharming where genetically engineered industrial enzymes, pharmaceuticals, etc. are extracted from dairy cows with potentially harmful residues in the leftover milk and meat.

There is now a 90 day public comment period on this FDA decision, ending April 2nd, 2007

Contact the FDA to express your opposition to this decision.

www.accessdata. fda.gov/scripts/ oc/dockets/ comments/ commentdocket. cfm?AGENCY= FDA

Toll free 1-888-463-6332

FDA Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061 Rockville, MD 20857

Why oppose clones in the food supply? Here's a press release from Food and Water Watch:

PRESS RELEASE FROM FOOD & WATER WATCH

CONTACT
Patty Lovera, (202) 797-6557 or (202) 744-0525 (cell)

December 28, 2006

Approval of Cloned Food Leaves Consumers Unprotected

Statement of Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to
allow the sale of meat and milk from cloned animals is yet another
example of the agency’s willingness to disregard safety in the face
of industry pressure.

The safety of eating milk and meat from cloned animals is far from
proven, with only a handful of studies and little long-term
evidence. Concerns about the lack of data on eating food from cloned
animals led the National Academy of Sciences in 2004 to state that
“the paucity of evidence in the literature on this topic makes it
impossible to provide scientific evidence to support this position
[that the food from cloned animals should be approved].” But
apparently, this skimpy body of evidence is enough for FDA to allow
these products onto consumers’ dinner tables.

Aside from human health concerns, many people have ethical objections
about cloning animals. A 2004 Gallup poll revealed that 64% of
Americans believe that cloning animals for food is “morally
wrong.” This strong opposition to the technology makes it even more
important that cloned foods are labeled so concerned consumers can
avoid them. Yet the FDA is not planning to require labeling of
products from cloned animals.

The low survival rate and high number of deformities in cloned
animals also raise significant concerns about cruelty to animals.
Studies of cloned animals show survival rates as low as five percent
and in those that survive, health problems including organ
malformation, digestive problems, and weakened immune systems.

We are also concerned by FDA’s apparent unwillingness to consider
negative information about cloning. The Associated Press recently
reported the story of Greg Wiles, a Maryland farmer who was the first
to have a commercial clone on a dairy farm. Wiles has been trying to
alert federal officials about a number of health problems experienced
by his animals, while complying with the FDA’s voluntary moratorium
on placing milk and meat from cloned animals into the food supply.
He has attempted over the last several years to bring this matter to
the attention of federal regulators, only to be rebuffed in his
attempts to have his cloned animals fully evaluated and used in
research.

Numerous ethical and safety concerns about cloned food products were
cited in a petition filed with FDA by a number of public interest
groups in October. The petition called on the agency to enact a
moratorium on foods produced from cloned animals and establish rules
for reviewing food safety and environmental impacts before these
products are sold to consumers. The petition also called for the
establishment of a committee to advise FDA on the ethical issues
involved.

Rather than allowing cloned products to be sold to consumers, the
agency should take the actions requested in the petition. It is too
soon for this controversial technology to be unleashed in the
marketplace.

If meat and milk from cloned animals do reach the marketplace,
Congress should instruct FDA to require labeling so consumers have
the information they need if they wish to avoid eating this poorly understood new technology.

###

Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer rights group based in
Washington, D.C that challenges the corporate control and abuse of
our food supply and water resources. Visit www.foodandwaterwatch.org

Originally posted to OrangeClouds115 on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 07:44 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh my God, that is so gross. (7+ / 0-)

    The fish ice cream thing, that is. I never seem to run out of reasons to be glad I gave up dairy.

  •  Feeling better about my... (7+ / 0-)

    "less sugar in the new year" resolution.

    Gack!

    "get him gone, get him gone, get him gone!! and bring all the thieves to trial" - Dry Drunk Emperor by TV on the Radio

    by god less force on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 07:45:10 PM PST

  •  looks like everything I picked out here (20+ / 0-)

    is all biotech related. There's a LOT more going on... my inbox is full. I'll try to be better about sharing what I've got.

    Recipe For America - A people-powered movement to take back our food system

    by OrangeClouds115 on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 07:45:12 PM PST

  •  Drat! (7+ / 0-)

    Just when I start getting hooked on that fish protein laced ice cream, the oceans will probably be all fished out.

    But seriously, thanks for the action item.  I'm very distressed that they want to allow this insanity without so much as requiring it to be labeled.

  •  Buy local... (7+ / 0-)

    and get an ice cream machine.  Nothing is better than homemade ice cream made with local ingredients.

  •  We live in a strange time... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear, gmb, OrangeClouds115

    It's a good thing I don't eat red meat or eat ice cream, or drink milk. I used to, until I started researching the food and water we drink, and I've become a health-nut.
    It's all a matter of trying to pre-empt the damages and ravages of the American diet.

  •  Yeesh. (4+ / 0-)

    I'll just go scrub me up a fat organic carrot now.

  •  They're going to wreck the Breyers brand (8+ / 0-)

    Historically, the ads for Breyers consisted of having children try to read the ingredients list for other ice creams, and then having them read the list for the Breyers ice cream.

    Putting this kind of thing into Breyers ice cream is going to totally wreck the brand that they've spent years building.

  •  because god forbid (4+ / 0-)

    we not be able to refreeze our ice cream.

    The rationale for this innovation is just so patently ridiculous that it makes the harm seem that much greater.

  •  gah (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, OrangeClouds115, god less force

    just ... gah!

    Cornbread is square, but pi are round.

    by cookiebear on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 07:57:36 PM PST

  •  Just checked Unilever website ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear, gmb, OrangeClouds115

    Good, the only ice cream I eat isn't a Unilever brand. But the pasta sauce I buy is! Maybe I should learn to make my own.

  •  Fortunately, Ben and Jerry's was my (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear, gmb, OrangeClouds115

    choice for the evening, and damned fine it is, too.  But I have a carton of some of that low fat Breyers stuff in the freezer at this very moment.  Think that will hit the garbage can tomorrow.  Thanks for the alert, as I haven't been all that careful about reading my labels lately.  Holidays and all....

    •  FYI, B&Js is owned by Unilever (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      norm, cookiebear

      Not sure if the fish protein goes in it though.

      Recipe For America - A people-powered movement to take back our food system

      by OrangeClouds115 on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 08:24:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Conflicting info (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OrangeClouds115

        According to this article:

        According to the August 5, 2006 issue of Growers and Grocers, Ben &
        Jerry’s, the self-styled "all natural" ice cream manufacturer, has broken ranks with food giant Unilever amid controversy about GM ice cream. A spokesperson for Ben & Jerry’s said: "We would not dream of including anything like that in our products. One of the biggest problems is that we are affected by Unilever’s actions even though they are nothing to do with the way that we behave. The fact that we are not using this GM ingredient shows that we are not
        following all of their decisions."

        Unfortunately, the article seems to be based on statements from the PR folks at Unilever subsidiaries and an earlier NYT article.  

        Nobody seems to be doing independent testing.

  •  BEN AND JERRY'S (4+ / 0-)

    For me baby!!!

    Ironically my favorite one is Phish food.....hmmmmmm

  •  Looks like a Food panel (7+ / 0-)

    at Yearly Kos is a must (I already thought it should be).  More and more people are getting informed and concerned about the quality of the food that they eat.  I try to get organic and limit my intake of red meat.  Now I'm going to have to ask for proof of  pedigree before I can order a meal.

    •  Things are looking good for a food panel (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      norm, cookiebear, gmb, KiaRioGrl79

      I don't know when the powers-that-be make their final decisions on that sort of thing, but it is really sounding good. So far I've been emailing w/ Kerry from Eating Liberally on it and that girl is AMAZING. She's trying to get some really big names for us (and at least one has agreed) and Compass Rose has great connections as well, so she can help even more.

      Recipe For America - A people-powered movement to take back our food system

      by OrangeClouds115 on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 08:26:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The trouble is, organic just isn't available (5+ / 0-)

      for a lot of people, either for economic reasons or because it just isn't popular enough in the neighborhood for the big stores to carry it.  There's been A LOT of improvement on this score in the last few years, but if I want to get hormone-free, antibiotic-free meat I have to use a lot of fossil fuel to get it.  It's worth it to me to drive twenty miles once a week, but it's annoying to have to do it.

      In addition, stores are now setting up so-called "natural" food sections which are nothing of the sort, or at least as I view "natural."  Most of it isn't remotely organic.  I pointed this out to the grocery store manager at the big store near me and he just could. not. understand. that there is a difference between saying something is "natural" and something is organically grown.  He insisted that they are one and the same!  But people are taken in by that "natural" label.

      •  I live in NYC and I know (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cookiebear, OrangeClouds115

        that I have options many people don't have.  I have a natural food store around the corner that carries lots of organic products, and we have many farmers' markets that offer organic produce/products.  More importantly, many restaurants use organic products.  I hope, that with time, more folks get these options and at decent prices.  The demand is there, now we need the supply to step up.

    •  I've switched over to bison as much as possible (5+ / 0-)

      instead of beef.  It's really quite tasty.  Although I used it in a "beef" strogranoff yesterday and I don't think I'll do that again.

      But, for burgers, mexican, etc, it's great substitute.

      •  Same here. I prefer bison to beef. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cookiebear, TiaRachel, Scout Finch
      •  And I'm trying to buy as much local vegetables (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel, OrangeClouds115

        and dairy as possible.  Even the nearby chain grocery store has a local produce section.  

        My cousin told me about his "100 mile diet" last year and it intrigued me, so I've been doing my part every since.  He tries to eat exclusively eat foods that are grown or raised within 100 miles of his home.

        I don't quite take it to that extreme, but it really has changed my grocery shopping.  And my food is better for it.

        Now if I could just get on that damn elliptical machine......

      •  Your bison (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OrangeClouds115

        is being raised on alfalfa and antibiotics and fattened in feedlots the same as cattle. Unless your bison is certified organic, it is no different than beef. I have seen the ravages of bison-raising on public and private lands first hand. These are not animals that need to be part of the food chain. Many bison ranchers also sell canned hunts to ethically-challenged hunters who drive up to the bison of their choice and shoot it using the hood of the truck to steady their gun-arms. Selling these hunts helps defray the cost of raising "big cows" the same way cattle have been raised for years on increasingly over-used western rangelands.

        "_____________"--Somebody -6.75/-7.54

        by crose on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 09:14:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Depends (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OrangeClouds115, Scout Finch
          Bison from the ranch down the street are grass fed and most assuredly not on a feedlot. Their pastures look better than mine.

          The only bad news is that they have to ship them to Idaho because there's no local slaughterhouse. And the local NIMBYs are fighting a proposal for a (supposedly) environmentally friendly slaughterhouse so that locally raised meat can be local all the way.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 09:29:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You really don't know anything about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OrangeClouds115

          "my" bison.  Assume much?

          I'm not here to get in some big Vegan battle over meat.

          I lived for several years as a vegetarian until I realized that.....I like meat.  And I am a carnivore.

          Period.  But you are welcome to enjoy your lifestyle as well.

        •  I didn't mean to sound harsh in the thread above, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OrangeClouds115

          but I do want to provide you with some info on my local buffalo farm and why buffalo is a great alternative to beef.

          From KC Buffalo:

          KC Buffalo Company, LLC is located in rural Missouri on the eastern edge of the Great American Prairie and only 20 minutes south of downtown Kansas City. Our farm raised Buffalo are free ranging, USDA inspected and free of hormones, growth stimulants and antibiotics to offer you the healthiest and most flavorful products to serve at your table at the best possible price.

          At our Buffalo Nutrition page you will find complete information on why Buffalo or Bison meat is probably the healthiest alternative to beef and other meats. It is rich in flavor, high in protein and naturally lower in fat, cholesterol and calories than beef, pork, lamb, veal, poultry and some fishes!

          The nutritional aspect?

          VALUE
          Bison meat provides more protein and nutrients with fewer calories and less fat. Bison is a dense meat that tends to satisfy more while eating less. When cooking buffalo meat, their is significantly less shrinkage due to the low fat content resulting in more usable end finished product.

          HEALTH BENEFITS
          Buffalo meat has as much calcium as a 6 oz. glass of milk; as much potassium as a medium banana; and contains vitamins B6 and B12. According to most health authorities, it is the best meat that one can eat for good cardiovascular health and is the red meat source for today's informed, health-conscious consumer.

          And how many cattle farms ask you to stop in?

          If you are in the Kansas City area you can visit us at the KC Buffalo Company's Cottonwood Ranch at 2201 E. 203rd Street in Belton MO. During summer months you can find us at several local farmers markets. If you are out of town or out of state, you can easily fax or call in your order. If we happen to be out we will get back to you as soon as possible.

          As far as the canned buffalo hunts.....I'm kind of torn.  When I first read your comment, I thought to myself that shooting buffalo seems so lame because they are so defenseless and this is a bad act.  However, I realized that those buffalo are being raised to be eaten.  And they live a normal, roaming buffalo life until then.  What's the difference if it goes to slaughter the traditional way or whether a guy (or gal) pays $10,000 to come bag their own?  I just looked at a couple of websites and the meat is immediately processed, the hide processed, etc and provided for the "hunter."  Honestly, I don't have much of a problem with that.  I think that if you are going to eat meat, then you ought to ocassionally have a hand in an animals demise.  My grandparents took me hunting once and I shot a rabbit.  My grandmother then made me help her skin it and we ate it.  Quite simply, you only kill for food.  Period.  It was a disgusting lesson, but let me tell you that I have a lot more respect for meat when I eat it now.  I think that people are so disconnected from the actual food process that if they had any idea exactly what they were eating, they wouldn't do it.  Or they would certainly eat less of it I would imagine.

          So, no.  I changed my mind about the hunt.....I think it's fine as long as it is limited to one per guest and all of the bison are processed for use.  I wouldn't want them to be wiped out like they were in the 1800's with people getting off a train and shooting dozens of 'em.  But the reality is that there are as many or more buffalo in Kansas today.  And if you are going to eat meat, you might as well be a part of the process.

      •  I've had Stroganoff made with moose (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OrangeClouds115, Scout Finch

        and meatballs made from bear.  The moose was a tad chewey.

        My Karma just ran over your Dogma

        by FoundingFatherDAR on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 09:43:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Actually fish products in fancy foods (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear, TiaRachel, murrayewv

    is very old. An item called "isinglass" made from (according to most sources) scales from various fish was used as an alternative to gelatin as a stiffening agent. (No not that kind, you use little blue pills for that kind. Shame on you. Mind out of the gutter, stat.)

    First recipe I came across when you mentioned this is for Blancmange from Eliza Leslie's 1828 Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats. The main recipe calls for boiling four calves' hooves but notes you can use isinglass as an alternative.

    I've seen it in beverages too but am too lazy to look any up. Not sure about ice cream but wouldn't surprise me; in the days before mechanical refrigeration existed the chemical alternatives would seem perfectly reasonable.

    In fact I'm not sure it's all that exciting today. Same with cloned meat/milk: bothers me not in the least. I await the crowd to tie me to a tree with the "blasphemer" sign taped to my chest. :)

    Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?

    by Xan on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 08:25:02 PM PST

    •  I think, while you are right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Xan, cookiebear

      the problem I have with it is that all sorts of reports have been saying how bad overfishing is, and along with global warming they keep saying the oceans are dying. Whether that is true or not, I don't know since I haven't looked into it that carefully.

      What I will say is that I (and many others) like to make informed choices about what I eat, so if you think  fish protein in ice cream is OK for you, then I won't dispute that, but I'd like to have it labeled so I can avoid it. I'd also like it to be tested for safety. Each case is different from one another, but on the whole it seems like they never test all their GMO stuff very well before they let people eat it. rBGH in particular.

      Recipe For America - A people-powered movement to take back our food system

      by OrangeClouds115 on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 08:28:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hate to say this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel, OrangeClouds115

        but I think the fish antifreeze is actually a pretty neat idea... I should say, this is the first I've heard about it being used for ice cream, so I'm not any more informed than this diary, but aware of its presence in fish.  Some fish.

        If it's being mass-produced by genetically-modified yeast, then presumably it doesn't contribute to overfishing at this point.

        Also, unless we are eating the yeast in total, we're not eating GMOs in this case, just the fish protein.

        You commented that the cod and pout were not too closely related... but that doesn't necessarily imply that the protein isn't the same.  Do you know that it is not?

        Testing for safety, of course, is always a good thing, I don't dispute that.  You can't be too careful, etc.

        But, if we eat these fish in other contexts, we are already consuming this protein...

        •  true, you're right (0+ / 0-)

          about a lot of things. It just seems... creepy. And sneaky. And while perhaps it has been tested for safety well enough, nothing I've read in the past about safety testing for GMOs makes me inclined to assume that without some independent form of proof.

          Recipe For America - A people-powered movement to take back our food system

          by OrangeClouds115 on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 01:25:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Obligatory blancmange segue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Xan
      As it was he did a deal with a blancmange, and the blancmange ate his wife.

      Detective     (getting up and talking sharply and fast) Now then. The facts are these. You received an order for 48,000,000 kilts from a blancmange from the planet Skyron in the Galaxy of Andromeda ... you'd just shown your wife an entry form for Wimbledon, which you'd filled in... when you turned round and saw her legs disappearing into a blancmange. Is that correct?

      http://www.ibras.dk/...
      See also:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 09:12:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Early Plastic too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Xan, OrangeClouds115

      You might recall the line from "Oaklahoma" that goes "With Isinglass curtains you can roll right down, in case there's a change in the weather"

      Kneejerk reactions do not come from knees.

      by londonbear on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 09:13:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Weirdly enough there are two completely (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger, TiaRachel, OrangeClouds115

        unrelated sorts of stuff called "isinglass": the fish-scale food hardener material, and also a mineral I believe is also known as "sheet mica", used for things like windows of stoves or furnaces which you need to be able to see inside of (to monitor the fire) but can't use glass because it would melt if exposed to such heat.

        Which one came first and how they both came to share the term I have never really looked into. In fact it was trying to google for the fish-scale product one time that enlightened me about the mica version. I assume that's what those Oklahoman window blinds were made of, although it seems a tad excessive for the purpose. Haven't heard the show in decades so didn't know that one.

        I am utterly and completely opposed to the introduction of sheet mica into the food supply. Thus do I feebly try to restore my liberal-food cred, most likely persuading no one. :)

        Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?

        by Xan on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 09:48:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  thats exactly what i thought of! nt (0+ / 0-)

        Recipe For America - A people-powered movement to take back our food system

        by OrangeClouds115 on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 10:44:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Fish protein made in yeast.... (3+ / 0-)

      is added to ice cream to reduce the fat content while preserving "mouth feel" of higher fat ice cream.  Guar gum and sodium alginate and carageenan are also used to keep the texture light and smooth without additional fats added.  Ben and Jerry's has 12-26 gm of fat per 1/2 cup ice cream.  Most of the double-churned brand have 1.5 to 4 gm of fat in 1/2 cup.  I have high cholesterol and like ice cream- and I would try the lower fat ice cream for my overall health.  

      Testing for the fish protein is done by feeding the substance to various animals in higher doses federal guidelines

      Here is a publication by Unilever scientists on the sorts of testing they have performed on this product.  link

      You may note there are no requirements to test for allergenicity.  Indeed, I couldn't source any testing by Unilever for allergenicity.  

      This is true for any new foods and additives.  If I wanted to introduce a new variety of carrot crossed with a wild carrot, there is no requirement I test to make sure I didn't introduce a new protein from wild carrot that would make you allergic to it.  If I want to put out an herbal tonic- no requirements for allergic response.  Legally, there is no need to do this when you put in a food additive.  Since a few people are allergic to virtually any food, they can't guarantee any food will be completely safe for everyone.  They are much more worried about toxicity and cancer than allergies.  
      This publication offers some guidelines for allergenicity testing.

      Fish allergies are usually to the parvalbubin  protein- a muscle protein.  This ice protein is very small and may not be very "allergenic" in profiling- usually there is software to model how allergenic a protein is likely to be.

      Link on fish allergies

      There are many gaps in introduction of new food additives and especially, herbal remedies.  the market forces are favored vs. regulation and testing.  there have been several well documented problems with the introduction of herbal treatments.  Link to allergies to echinacea

      I believe Unilever would have their pants sued off them if they knew this protein was dangerous and they used it in ice cream.  However that is not to say that it is illegal to add a protein to ice cream that wasn't completely tested for its allergenic effects, especially since nothing else is tested for allergenic effects.

      There are a lot of problems with adding new foods and herbal drugs and supplements to our foods.  There are many gaps in the process.  By focussing on only biotech products, you are running a serious risk of missing out on the bigger issues- that we don't require thorough testing on much of anything in the food supply except for toxicity.  Biotech products are more tested than other products.  The overall lack of laws leaves gaps which permit potentially risky foods to be added to the food chain.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 02:03:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  On the up side, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear

    people are getting savvier about their buying, at least to a certain extent.  Kraft parmesan in that green can used to contain "cellulose."  Cellulose is nothing more than sawdust.  I notice that Kraft (I don't buy it, but I've watched this happen) is now advertising their grated parmesan as containing nothing but cheese these days.  The consumer has spoken....

    Love to see a food panel!

    •  Avoiding cellulose (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TiaRachel, OrangeClouds115, murrayewv

      would mean avoiding nearly all green plant material, because that's what makes up the cell walls in most plants. Makes it hard to be a vegetarian and avoiding cellulose probably leads to colon cancer.

      Cellulose is also what cotton fiber largely consists of. It's usually what dietary fiber consists of too, I believe.

      Wonder Bread (I think it was) did used to put actual sawdust in their bread. Not very appealing, but probably not very harmful either - particularly compared to the other things that probably go into Wonder Bread.

      There is no more New Frontier - we have got to make it here - Henley/Frey

      by badger on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 10:34:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Food wasn't the point of that cow research... (4+ / 0-)

    Although even the science press took that angle, at least in the headlines. You're right about the feed thing, but prion abnormalities (diseases) can occur naturally. As I understand it (I'm not paying $30 to read the original article, I"ll just look at the free abstract and the press release), the prion protein (gene) is completely absent from these cows, which means that not only will they not develop prion disease, they provide a model for understanding just what it is the prion does.  And where does the money come in? The company involved is Hematech:

    The pharmaceutical industry currently uses human blood serum to gather the supply of human antibodies necessary in developing disease-fighting drugs. But Hematech's unique TC Bovine technology has developed human antibody-producing cows, making it possible to create an efficient, safe, and steady supply of polyclonal antibodies in larger quantities. This is expected to have widespread implications for the development of new medicines to combat a variety of infectious and other diseases.

    More info on applications etc. at their site. So there's undoubtedly an ethical/financial argument discussion to be had here, but it's not the food one.

    It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

    by TiaRachel on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 08:50:41 PM PST

  •  Right objection (7+ / 0-)

    Vegetarian cheeses are made by using non-animal rennet that is produced in a similar way to "fish" protein in the ice cream. The problem surely is not the product itself necessarily but the reason it is there.

    Rather than the churning needed for traditional ice cream, many use an emulsifier to prevent the formation of ice in lumps that would marr the mouth feel. This is there for a similar reason but to maintain the texture note after the ice cream has been refrozen after defrosting.  This will merely cover up stores that store the ice cream improperly and allow it to melt. That would allow microbes to multiply and potentially give you food poisoning. Then it is refrozen but without the tell-tale texture that would make you suspicious about eating it.  

    Kneejerk reactions do not come from knees.

    by londonbear on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 09:03:09 PM PST

    •  It's the low fat content (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, TiaRachel, OrangeClouds115
      They're not talking about ice cream being refrozen from a puddle, but the slight thaw-melt cycle that you would expect from any ice cream that will be stored in the freezer and removed for servings, and also for the ride home from the store.

      With full fat ice cream, this cycle is not so detrimental. With low fat ice cream, it's much more likely to grow ice crystals - not evil, but not as nice as full fat varieties. And the point of these double churned ice creams is that they have the mouthfeel of the fuller fat cousins. Another way to avoid these ice crystals is to add more sweetener.

      I actually don't object all that much. Fish proteins aren't the worst thing you could add. I just want it disclosed so we all know.

      But honestly, last year I realized I'd been spazzing about buying organic or at least BST free milk... and buying Dreyer's ice cream, which is not only made of conventional milk, but also with High Fructose Corn Syrup. Dammit! I thought I was being so careful. And my family actually goes through as much ice cream as milk in the summer.

      I already had an ice cream maker, but I hadn't been making my own because it was more expensive than ice cream on sale, and the quality was equivalent. Then I realized that's because when I buy dairy I use organic ingredients.  So now I buy real vanilla beans and make it myself.

      Mine does get ice crystals, by the way, even though I know it's been handled right. I also make my ice cream with a lower fat content than the superpremium ice creams - to me the taste is similar except for the texture. But I accept it as being something I made.

      Until I found the HFCS, I hadn't thought of ice cream as a processed food. Sigh.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 09:21:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ice cream (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OrangeClouds115

        I must admit that as I have been on a long term low fat diet I have not had ice cream for about 6 months and even then that was a small individual one in the very hot weather. I usually use plain yoghurt or creme fresh to substitute cream or ice cream.

        Having said that, when I do I buy it here in the UK I get it from a German chain of markets called Lidl. (I am afraid that is despite their pay policies which are almost as bad as Walmart) Their vanilla ice cream is close to the real thing, with the vanilla seeds still in.

        Kneejerk reactions do not come from knees.

        by londonbear on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 09:56:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well, ice cream contains seaweed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, OrangeClouds115

    extractions, so doesn't the fish fit with the seaweed?

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 09:31:46 PM PST

    •  Agar Agar (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TiaRachel, OrangeClouds115

      The agar agar is derived from a particular seaweed of the same name. It is basically a boiling/refining method. In that respect it is not too different from extracting sugar from the cane.

      It is used as an alternative to gelatine, particularly for vegetarians. As a kitchen product it usually comes as a powder rather than the "leaves" gelatine is sold in.

      Kneejerk reactions do not come from knees.

      by londonbear on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 10:08:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Aqutak - Eskimo Ice Cream (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OrangeClouds115

    I saw this on some Food Network show some time ago; it's made with fish and whale blubber. A frozen delicious treat!

    The word "akutaq" (phonetic:agoodik) means "the blended one, the mixture." Akutaq is also known as "Eskimo ice cream." This is a classic Native delicacy, popular throughout Alaska. The recipe differs greatly depending on the part of the region in which it is made.

    The ingredients before Western contact often included:

    Berries:salmonberries (akpiq), blackberries(aqlluk), or blueberries
    Animal oil (seal, walrus, or whale)
    Dried fat (reindeer, caribou, or moose)
    Fish (trout, salmon, etc.)
    Fish liver
    Dried salmon eggs
    Greens

    Oh man, that sounds nasty.  Gaaaack!

    P.S.  Welcome to California! I hope you make it up to the Bay Area some time.  I still want to take you shopping at the Berkeley Bowl and maybe you can teach me how to make gnocchi!  I tried your recipe and it tasted good but the gnocchi ended up a little mushy.      Maybe I overcooked it?

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