Beef: the most environmentally harmful animal product

PNAS-beef-animal-productsBad news for beef lovers.  Another study has shown that the most environmentally harmful animal in the American diet is beef.  Compared to pork, poultry, or eggs in a per-calorie comparison, beef  was worse in every measure – water, land, fertilizer.  It’s useful information for those who are considering cutting meat from their diet for environmental reasons…a huge first step would be to just minimize how much beef and dairy you consume.  There’s no way I’m cutting beef out of my diet entirely…I’m too much of a steak lover for that!  Including more poultry and pork looks like a good move though.

Read more at TreeHugger: Scientists identify the most environmentally harmful animal product in the American diet : TreeHugger.

Would you eat synthetic meat?

test_tube_burgerAs you probably heard already, researchers in Europe have managed to grow meat in laboratory conditions, starting out with cow stem cells.  They even went a step further and cooked and ate the meat, reporting ho-hum results – the lack of fat was an issue.  As my grandfather used to say, “The fat is where the flavor is.”  Indeed.  So flavor aside, it proved to be a pretty decent substitute, reportedly.  The potential here is huge…meat production is widely criticized as not only inhumane, but a significant contributor of greenhouse gas.  As the population grows, demand for food will grow with it, so this has the potential to greatly help offset that demand.

What I found really interesting though was a question on FastCompany – Would vegans and vegetarians eat synthetic meat?  It’s an interesting conundrum (YES!  I’ve been wanting to use that word in a post for a while now).  There’s also the aspect of food safety…with concerns like Mad Cow Disease, growth hormones, pink slime, etc, the idea of a tightly controlled lab environment for your food supply has its appeal.

Others are working on the synthetic meat problem too, and with backers such as Sergey Brin, Bill Gates, and Peter Thiel throwing their support at these projects, I think it’s only a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’, you’ll be ordering a test tube burger at McDonald’s within the next decade.

Study finds 84% of all fish have unsafe levels of mercury

fish-2961289136516LOiThis is one of those stories I find almost too scary to be true…yet I don’t see reason to doubt it.  A study by the Biodiversity Research Institute (link) found that 84% of fish have levels of mercury that are unsafe, posing a health risk to humans.  So on the one hand, we’re told to eat more fish, it’s good for you…yeah well except for the mercury part of it. 🙁  Relative to other countries, fish in the US tested better, with a bit more than 40% of samples above the recommend mercury levels.  Most other countries ranked higher, in the 90+% range.  Swordfish and tuna rank as the worst (highest mercury concentrations).

(via CBS News)

Food safety in China

IkeaChina has a well-earned reputation for careless disregard for the safety of their food supply (follow this link for the ‘top 10 food scandals‘, for example).  Now with horsemeat concerns in the European food supply, and most recently Ikea meatballs, Ikea wanted to reassure the Chinese that the meatballs served in China are actually made in China, and are not tied to the horsemeat scandal in Europe.  Well, it kinda backfired, as it seems even the Chinese are losing faith in their food supply…and would rather have potentially horsemeat-laden meatballs from Europe than domestically produced meatballs.  As one person was quoted as saying, “I don’t really care about horse meat. The key point is that if it’s produced in China, it probably has rat meat.”  Hard to argue with that, based on recent history.

Could be worse though…when testing for horse DNA in meat pies produced in Iceland, they found the meat pies actually contained no meat.  Lol.

Then another food surprise in China…in an effort to maximize profits, some vendors are selling walnuts filled with concrete.

In-home hydroponic garden (concept)

nano-garden-1.jpeg.492x0_q85_crop-smartShown here is a pretty slick concept for an in-home hydroponic garden designed by Hyundai.  At this point it’s just a concept, but I’ll admit it has me thinking about designing and building something like this myself.  Hydroponics are nothing new, but what this concept does is make it look good, like something you don’t feel the need to hide away in your basement.

(via Treehugger)

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