food for thought....


Just some updates about things going on in the world that are pretty darn tootin interesting. Consider yourself informed.

If you haven't already planned out your wardrobe for tomorrow (cause some people do that, in fact... in high school and college I used to do that too, but enough about me and my OCD tendencies...) plan to wear blue! Tomorrow, January 12 is Wear Blue Day in support of our oceans and a strong National Ocean Policy. This national policy is under review by the Obama Administration and will protect, maintain and restore ocean, coasts, and Great Lake Ecosystems. And, if you live in San Francisco, New Orleans or DC, tomorrow you can even take part in rallies to show your support. (Here in Portland, we can show our support by buying blue doughnuts at Voo Doo. True story.)

Speaking of oceans. Who out there likes pirates?

When it comes to movies, I like pirates! And when it comes to choosing between pirates or ninja's, I'll gladly choose pirates any day. However... some people out there do not like pirates; most notably, those who make their living with traveling the high seas and live in constant fear of Somali Pirates. Many of these vessels whom live in fear are in fact illegal commercial fishing trawlers parked off the coast of Somalia who for many years, have been scooping up the oceans bounty and limiting the supply of fish to local fishermen providing their families and communities with fish. In response to these pirate attacks, many of those illegal fishing boats have not been returning and as a result, the bounty of fish that local fishermen have been able to catch has been outstanding. For many, they are catching fish like marlins, barracuda, red snapper and oranda, that have not been in supply for many years. This is bringing even more sport fishermen to the coast which is helping local tourism and put money in the pockets of the local communities. All this doesn't mean that the piracy is okay, in fact... it presents even more problems in some aspects, but it is a nice little silver lining to the murky cloud of piracy.

Wanna talk about murky clouds? Talk about the murky cloud of what goes into a filler that helps contribute to 70% of the ground beef that Americans eat each year. This murky cloud is called "Pink Slime" and last year, the Federal Government bought and used 5.5 million pounds of this processed meat to be used in our public schools and fed to our kids. Pink Slime is basically an answer that the food industry developed in response to recent outbreaks in E. coli and salmonella in our food supply. What happens is that a company (Beef Products) buys the cheapest, least desirable beef on offer (fatty sweepings from the slaughterhouse floor, chock full of E coli 0157 and antibiotic resistant salmonella), then it sends the scraps through a process which grinds the scraps into a paste, separates out the fat, and then ammonia is added to kill pathogens. This paste (known as pink slime) is then marketed widely to hamburger makers. To the food industry, this seems like a great idea: pink slime is really really cheap, it's sterile, and because it is so laden with ammonia, it helps kills what ever pathogens remain in the ground beef it's mixed with.

However, according to an article in the New York Times that ran last week, more often than not the ammonia added to the meat paste doesn't always kill the pathogens, infact... tests have proven that it helps add to the pathogen levels. Apparently, from 05-09, the school lunch program officials tested Beef Products (the meat made with the slime) had 36 positive results for salmonella per 1,000 test in comparison to a rate of 9 positive results per 1,000 tests in other suppliers. And the thing is... this is new news to the public, but not to the Government, the USDA, and not to the fast food industry, who have been aware of the potential harm for pink slime all along. The only thing "pink slime" has going for it, is that it's cheap, and that's why it's in our food supply. And.... even in light of this recent revelation to the public, the AP reports that fast food chains McDonald's, Burger King and agricultural conglomerate Cargill Inc. (who all use Beef Products "pink slime" in their burgers) say that they'll keep using the meat and that their products are safe. Kind of makes you want to go out and rent Food.Inc huh?

Oh, and in attempts to clear up some murkiness regarding water... have you guys heard about Katie Spotz? Katie is a 22yr old from Ohio who left home a while back headed directly for Sengal armed with only a 19ft row boat, two oars and three months worth of dehydrated food in a quest to become the youngest person to row across an ocean solo and the first American to do so from Africa to South America. The trip is 2,500 miles long and will take Katie appx 70 to 100 days alone at sea. And why is she doing it? Well, not only does she like a good challenge, but she likes a good cause. Katie has teamed up with Blue Planet Run Foundation to raise money for communities around the world to have access to safe drinking water. Spotz, who apparently is no stranger to endurance challenges has prior completed a 3,300 mile bike ride across the US for the American Lung Ass., completed a 150 mile run in the Mojave and Colorado desert, ran a 62 mile ultra-marathon in Australia and just last year she became the first person to swim the entire length of the 352 mile Allegheny River to increase the awareness for the need of safe drinking water. You can help support Katie and her efforts by donating to Blue Planet Run, who since 2002 has been working in 214 projects in 18 countries to bring safe drinking water to over 200,000 people. $30 may be a tank of gas for you, but to someone in a third world country, it can bring a lifetime of safe drinking water. You can follow Katie and her epic trip here, as she's updating her status frequently on her progress. Good luck Katie and watch out for those pirates!

There are some nice media articles on Katie, her training and video footage on her website and here. Check em out.


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