NEW YORK (CNN) -- A giant lobster named George escaped a dinner-table fate and was released Saturday into the Atlantic Ocean after a New York seafood restaurant granted him his freedom, according to a statement from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
George the lobster was a "sort of mascot" for City Crab and Seafood in New York.
The lobster, which PETA said was 140 years old and weighed 20 pounds, had been confined to a tank at City Crab and Seafood restaurant in Manhattan when two customers alerted the animal group.
The PETA statement did not say how the extraordinary age estimate was determined, but restaurant manager Keith Valenti told CNN that lobsters can grow a pound every seven to 10 years, and he put George's weight at 18 to 20 pounds.
"I've been here for 12 years, and that's the biggest lobster I've ever seen," Valenti said.
He said the lobster had been "sitting in the restaurant's tank and acting as a sort of mascot," but when PETA got involved and requested the release, it "seemed like the right thing to do."
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement, "We applaud the folks at City Crab and Seafood for their compassionate decision to allow this noble old-timer to live out his days in freedom and peace.
"We hope that their kind gesture serves as an example that these intriguing animals don't deserve to be confined to tiny tanks or boiled alive."
Shedding the tight confines of his old restaurant display tank, George was driven to Maine by PETA members and was returned to his natural habitat on the ocean floor Saturday, the organization said.
to be a vegetarian and stop cheating with fish. Yech. See below from CNN. A NINE FOOT TAPEWORM!
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- A man who contends he got a 9-foot tapeworm after eating undercooked fish has sued a Chicago restaurant.
In the lawsuit filed Monday, Anthony Franz said he ordered salmon salad for lunch from Shaw's Crab House in 2006 and fell violently ill. He later passed the giant parasite, which a pathologist determined came from undercooked fish, such as salmon.
Franz's lawsuit seeks $100,000 from Shaw's and its parent company, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, contending the restaurant's staff was negligent in serving him improperly cooked fish.
But Carrol Symank, vice president of food safety for Lettuce Entertain You, said the tapeworm didn't come from Shaw's.
"We have done a thorough investigation, and we're confident the restaurant is not the source," he said.
According to the Web site mayoclinic.com, tapeworms can measure up to 50 feet long.
"Dr. Fredric J. Baur was so proud of having designed the container for Pringles... that he asked his family to bury him in one. His children honored his request. Part of his remains was buried in a Pringles can — along with a regular urn containing the rest... Dr. Baur, a retired organic chemist and food storage technician who specialized in research and development and quality control for Procter & Gamble, died May 4 at 89... He developed many products, including frying oils and a freeze-dried ice cream, for P&G... But the Pringles can was his proudest accomplishment, his daughter said. He received a patent for the package as well as the method of packaging Pringles in 1970."
From today's Truthout.org. Don't miss this upcoming special on PBS. Details at truthout.org.
There may be a potentially dangerous chemical leaching into our food from the containers that we use every day. Bill Moyers Journal and Expose: America's Investigative Reports examine why, even though studies show that the chemical Bisphenol A can cause cancer and other health problems in lab animals, the manufacturers, their lobbyists, and US regulators say it's safe. Also on the program, Jeffrey Toobin, one of the most recognized legal journalists in the country, discusses what the Supreme Court might look like if John McCain is elected president. And Bill Moyers on honoring our veterans this Memorial Day.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Ninety percent of Americans say breakfast is an important part of a healthy diet, but just 49 percent manage to eat breakfast every day, a new survey shows.
And only 11 percent know the amount of calories they should consume daily to maintain a healthy weight, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation's second annual Food & Health Survey. "The only good thing is more people tried to guess than last year," Susan Borra, the president of the Washington, DC-based IFIC Foundation, told Reuters Health.
IFIC commissioned a survey of 1,000 US adults, this March to better understand people's beliefs and behaviors regarding healthy eating. The survey identified a number of "diet disconnects" between what people intend to do and their actual habits, according to Borra and her team.
Among the most striking "disconnects," Borra said in an interview, concerned knowledge about good and bad fats. While current guidelines recommend people consume more polyunsaturated fats, found in fish and some whole grain foods, and monounsaturated fats, found in nuts, avocados and vegetable oils, she noted, 42 percent of those surveyed said they were trying to eat fewer polyunsaturated fats and 38 percent reported trying to cut down on monounsaturated fats.
However, 70 percent of people said they were trying to cut down on saturated fat, more than last year's 57 percent. Saturated fats are found in meats, dairy foods, and coconut and palm oils, among other sources, and have been tied to an increased risk off heart disease and stroke.
While 84 percent said they were physically active at least once a week for health benefits, only 44 percent said they "balanced diet and physical activity" for weight management. "That concept of calories in, calories out isn't quite making the consumer radar screen," Borra said. "That's another big disconnect."
And while most people surveyed knew about the benefits of functional foods; for example, 80 percent knew such foods could benefit the heart, just 42 percent actually ate such heart-healthy foods.
"Consumers are interested in health, they want to have a healthy lifestyle, but they're just having a tremendous difficulty achieving it," Borra said, adding that people's "hectic, crazy lifestyles" and the confusing mix of information out there don't help matters
Hydrogenated fats are deadly. They are mostly illegal in the US. But now, an exception. MARS BARS.
Thank goodness, I prefer my chocolate plain and dark and bitter and swiss.
But after almost eight years of clean living, this? MARS! Very disappointed. If you're vegetarian, that chocolate bar is untouchable!
Story below, excerpted:
As of this past May 1, Mars brand candy bars are no longer suitable for vegetarians. The affected brands, which include chocolate and ice cream versions of Snickers, Bounty, Milky Way and more, now contain rennet, a product obtained by extracting the stomach lining of calves.
This news comes on the heels of an announcement by the United States Food and Drug Administration that there is a move underfoot to change the standard of identity for chocolate, allowing food additives such as (deadly, my add) hydrogenated fats and other distinctly non-chocolate ingredients to be included in a product that can still be called chocolate.
What does this all mean? If you're in the UK, it means that grabbing a quick chocolate treat may mean compromising your vegetarian values and, if you're in the US, it means that in the near future, chocolate manufacturers will be offering an inferior product, which you will likely be paying the same price for.
GINA'S NOTE: Wonderful. The food industry lobbies, and we matter not at all. Unless we choose to buy our chocolate wisely. Check labels for hydrogenated fats and, if you agree, use your dollars to vote. If customers don't buy, the lobbyists and companies who don't mind slowly giving our children and adults fat-related diseases might wake up.
Is there any end to the lack of corporate concern for human health. First the hundred-plus carcinogenics listed in safecosmetics.org (see earlier post) in almost all the products I use daily. Pantene to make my long hair smooth, my supposedly organic lotions, my mascara and makeup I need for my TV job. All high up on the carcinogenic and animal-testing lists.
In the next few days, I am going to start using its database to find products that score low (0 to 2) on a daily basis and really put an effort to it. If we don't do it, who will?
Chocolate, makeup, moisturizers. You wonder why reproductive cancers are going up. (And as I said, only FOUR of the more than 100 carcinogens banned from personal products in Europe are banned here. Someone tell me why no one is protecting the health of our people.
We drink rice milk in this household. The least you could expect from us sanctimonious Californians. Glad the FTC is standing up to the meat and dairy lobbyists for a change. Now if only the FDA could stop being a puppet for the pharma industry ...
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. dairy producers will have to stop pitching the idea that drinking more milk spurs weight loss, the Federal Trade Commission told a physician's advocacy group in a letter made public on Friday.
Calling it a "victory for consumers", the Physicians for Responsible Medicine said two national dairy advertising campaigns overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will stop claiming that dairy products cause weight loss because "such claims are not supported by existing scientific research."
Greg Miller, senior vice president for the National Dairy Council, said the industry stands "behind our weight loss messages and the science supporting those messages."
But Miller said that at the request of USDA, the industry would shift its messages "to emphasize the role of dairy in weight maintenance" instead of weight loss. USDA could not be immediately reached for comment on the FTC letter.
The doctors' organization cited a May 3 letter from FTC, which told the group that following discussions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it would "discontinue all advertising and other marketing activities involving weight loss claims until further research provides stronger more conclusive evidence of an association between dairy consumption and weight loss."
In its April 2005 petition to the FTC, the advocacy group charged that the dairy industry was misleading the public with its high profile, celebrity-filled marketing campaign that suggested consuming milk and other dairy products helped consumers lose weight.
"Milk and cheese are more likely to pack on pounds than help people slim down," said Dan Kinburn, PCRM's general counsel. "This case calls into question other advertising claims made by the industry, especially the notion that milk builds strong bones. Evidence shows it does nothing of the kind."
In Germany where I visited as a kid, I remember they tried me to eat "horse sausage." Yuck! Now, I realize that different cultures consider different animals edible and others not, but as a vegetarian, okay, can you horse-eaters pull yourselves together? Excerpt from today's NYT. Subscription required, but it's free.
RECENTLY, an official for American Horse Defense Fund, which is a fervent supporter of bills now in the United States Congress that would ban slaughtering horses for meat, declared that “the foreign-owned slaughter industry needs to understand that Americans will never view horses as dinner.”
It’s a ringing statement, but it’s not an entirely accurate one. As much public support as the anti-slaughter bills have and as highly as we regard this animal as a companion, co-worker and patriotic symbol, Americans have made periodic forays into horse country, hungry for an alternative red meat.
During World War II and the postwar years, when beef and pork were scarce or priced beyond most consumers’ means, horsemeat appeared in the butcher’s cold case. In 1951, Time magazine reported from Portland, Ore.: “Horsemeat, hitherto eaten as a stunt or only as a last resort, was becoming an important item on Portland tables. Now there were three times as many horse butchers, selling three times as much meat.” Noting that “people who used to pretend it was for the dog now came right out and said it was going on the table,” the article provided tips for cooking pot roast of horse and equine fillets.
A similar situation unfolded in 1973, when inflation sent the cost of traditional meats soaring. Time reported that “Carlson’s, a butcher shop in Westbrook, Conn., that recently converted to horsemeat exclusively, now sells about 6,000 pounds of the stuff a day.” The shop was evangelical in its promotion of horse as a main course, producing a 28-page guide called “Carlson’s Horsemeat Cook Book,” with recipes for chili con carne, German meatballs, beery horsemeat and more. While no longer in print, the book is catalogued on Amazon.
My east coast friends laugh at my double filtration water filter ...
From Reuters, excerpted below.
CHICAGO (Reuters) - From an attack by militants to a decline in snow melt caused by global warming, public fears about the water supply have heightened in the United States.
So who would have thought the top worry among water experts turns out to be rusty pipes?
"If you clean up water and then put it into a dirty pipe, there's not much point," said Timothy Ford, a microbiologist and water research scientist with Montana State University. "I consider the distribution system to be the highest risk and the greatest problem we are going to be facing in the future," Ford said.
Towns and cities across the United States spend more than $50 billion each year cleaning water sourced from rivers, lakes and underground aquifers.
More than 170,000 public water systems are at work to keep tap water flowing into American homes and meeting the standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.
But after the extensive purifying process, water ends up in your glass after traveling through pipes laid under city streets 50, 60 or 100 years ago.
Makes me glad I ate a Tofurkey! This is serious stuff.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An Ohio-based company is recalling 46,941 pounds of turkey and ham products that officials fear could cause listeriosis, a potentially fatal disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday.
HoneyBaked Foods Inc. is voluntarily recalling the meat, which includes cooked, glazed and sliced ham and turkey, USDA said in a statement.
The meat, which was produced between September 5 and November 13, may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, which can bring about high fever, headaches, neck stiffness and nausea, USDA said.
Healthy individuals are not usually susceptible to the illness, but it can cause infections to infants, the elderly, or people with HIV or cancer. It can also cause miscarriages.received any reports so far of illness related to the meat products.
Which might not matter -- if you prefer junk food to being old and shuttled from doctor to doctor for diabetes, heart disease, etc. YUCK!
But go ahead, try it. It's your life. Let me know if it is all that. Fried coke. Sheesh.
NEW YORK, Oct 26 (Reuters Life!) - A new fast food is making its debut at U.S. fairs this fall -- fried Coke.
Abel Gonzales, 36, a computer analyst from Dallas, tried about 15 different varieties before coming up with his perfect recipe -- a batter mix made with Coca-Cola syrup, a drizzle of strawberry syrup, and some strawberries.
Balls of the batter are then deep-fried, ending up like ping-pong ball sized doughnuts which are then served in a cup, topped with Coca-Cola syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry on the top.
"It tastes great," said Sue Gooding, a spokeswoman for the State Fair of Texas where Gonzales' fried Coke made its debut this fall. "It was a huge success."
Gonzales ran two stands at the State Fair of Texas and sold up to 35,000 fried Cokes over 24 days for $4.50 each -- and won a prize for coming up with "most creative" new fair food.
Now other fairs in North Carolina and Arizona are following the trend, and other people are trying to emulate Gonzales' recipe.
Gonzales gave no indication of the calories in his creation and said he would not patent it.
"The best I can hope for is that it's the original and hopefully the best fried Coke out there," he said.
But Gonzales said the success of his fried Coke had inspired him. Next year's fair-goers can look forward to fried Sprite or -- for those watching their weight -- fried diet Coke.
"We are trying to cut a lot of the sugar out of it. It has less calories but it's still very, very sweet," he said.
Ray Crockett, a spokesman for Coca-Cola Co., said: "We're constantly amazed at the creative ways folks find to enjoy their Coke and make it part of celebrations like fairs and festivals. This is one is definitely different!"
Okay, if you've been reading this blog for the three years I've been doing it, you know I am a vegetarian. I'm Californian, too, which completes the equation.
So, though I hesitate to ruin your turkey season, I feel obliged to give you to a link of turkeys being tortured and butchered for Thanksgiving. It's pretty gross. If you want to stay ignorant of your meat or you're at all sqeamish about animals being harmed, don't click.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A diet high in refined cereals, and bread in particular, is associated with an elevated risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the main type of kidney cancer, according to a study in Italy.
Diet and nutrition are thought to play a role in the development of RCC, but the effect of specific food groups on the risk of this malignancy is controversial, explain Dr. Francesca Bravi and colleagues in the International Journal of Cancer.
Bravi, from Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche "Mario Negri" in Milan, and associates elsewhere in Italy, used food frequency questionnaires to compare the diets of 767 patients with RCC in the 2 years prior to diagnosis to those of 1534 'controls' who were admitted to the same hospitals for acute, non-cancer disorders.
Comparing the highest with the lowest intakes, consumption of bread increased the risk of RCC by 94 percent, pasta and rice by 29 percent, and milk and yogurt by 27 percent.
Conversely, high intake of poultry, processed meat, and vegetables appeared to reduce the risk by 26 percent, 36 percent, and 35 percent, respectively.
"To our knowledge, no other study investigated the role of cereals on RCC," the researchers state. Their findings confirm that "moderate cereal and high vegetables consumption may have a favorable effect on this (cancer)."
SOURCE: International Journal of Cancer, online October 20, 2006.
Having grown up in Florida, I was always disgusted and sad to see those poor lobsters piled up on top of each other in grocery stores and seafood restaurants. So I was happy to see this story today. Excerpt from AP.
AUSTIN - Customers craving fresh crustaceans will have to look beyond Whole Foods Market Inc. after the natural-foods grocery chain decided Thursday to stop selling live lobsters and crabs on the grounds that it's inhumane.
The Austin-based grocer spent seven months studying the sale of live lobsters from ship to supermarket aisle, trying to determine whether the creatures suffer along the way.
In some stores, they experimented with "lobster condos," filling the tanks with stacks of large pipes that the critters can crawl inside. And they moved the tanks behind seafood counters and away from children's tapping fingers.
But on Thursday, Whole Foods' leadership team decided to immediately stop selling live lobsters and soft-shell crabs because they couldn't ensure they are treated with respect and compassion.
"We place as much emphasis on the importance of humane treatment and quality of life for all animals as we do on the expectations for quality and flavor," Whole Foods co-founder and chief executive John Mackey said in a statement.
Animal rights activities are thrilled with the decision, not just because of the way lobsters are harvested, shipped and stored but because of the fate that awaits many of them - being dropped alive into a pot of boiling water.
"The ways that lobsters are treated would warrant felony cruelty to animals charges if they were dogs or cats," said Bruce Friedrich, a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
In making its decision, Whole Foods pointed to a November report from the European Food Safety Authority Animal Health and Welfare panel that it said concluded all decapod crustaceans, including lobsters and crabs, appear to have some degree of awareness, feel pain and can learn.
But other scientists and seafood industry officials said Thursday that lobsters have such primitive insect-like nervous systems they don't even have brains and can't experience pain the way animals and humans do.
For example, lobsters can shed a claw that's stuck between two rocks and move on like nothing happened, said Diane Cowan, a marine biologist who studies lobster behavior in Maine.
"They certainly have a nervous system and respond to external stimuli, but whether you can call it pain I don't know," Cowan said.
She also dismissed Whole Foods' concerns about lobsters living together. She's seen four or five male lobsters crowd into an 18-inch hutch she built and hunker down together for the winter.
"I would recommend for Whole Foods if you want to feel good about lobsters, slow them down," she said. "If they're in water that's below 40 degrees, they're pretty much just inactive."
Shellfish industry experts doubt the decision will have much of an impact on sales nationwide.
About 183 million pounds of lobster are caught each year in the United States and Canada, and about 25 percent of that is sold live, according to the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine.
"People who want lobster will have lobster," said Bill Adler, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association. "If this particular chain does not want to serve it, people will go elsewhere."
From now on, Whole Foods will only sell frozen raw and cooked lobster products at its more than 180 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, said Margaret Wittenberg, vice president of quality standards. And the chain will only deal with suppliers meeting their standards for humane treatment, handling and processing.
But Whole Foods leaders will reconsider their decision if they become convinced it is possible to ensure lobsters and crabs are treated humanely throughout the supply chain, she said.
"It remains open if that's a possibility, but at this time we don't feel that it's there yet," Wittenberg said.
But Boston kids may still get it once a week. Yuck! Reuters excerpt below.
BOSTON (Reuters) - When it comes to food, Boston is best known for baked beans and clam chowder. But this week, state legislators have engaged in robust debate on Marshmallow Fluff -- a locally made, sugary spread.
State Sen. Jarrett Barrios started the tempest in a lunch box when he learned that his son's Cambridge grammar school cafeteria offered Fluff-and-peanut butter sandwiches daily.
In a nation where child obesity rates have more than doubled in the past 25 years, Barrios fretted that was not a healthy option. Monday he proposed a law that would allow schools to serve the "Fluffernutters" only once a week.
"The key was to start a discussion of what is nutritious," said Colin Durrant, Barrios' director of public policy.
Fluff aficionados defended the sweet spread, which locals also lather on ice cream and into hot chocolate, and is made by local company, Durkee-Mower Inc. of Lynn, Massachusetts. A two-tablespoon serving of fluff, which is made from corn syrup, sugar and egg whites, has about 60 calories.
State Rep. Kathi Anne Reinstein Tuesday introduced a bill that would make the Fluffernutter the state sandwich. Barrios signed on as a co-sponsor of that bill, saying that he liked Fluff himself but did not want kids eating it every day for lunch.
Don Durkee, the 80-year-old president of Durkee-Mower, said Fluff didn't warrant so much legislative attention.
"It should be up to the consumers and the parents to determine what is fed to their children," Durkee said. "There's probably more serious things to be concerned about."
"Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places! I have since an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men." Leonardo da Vinci.
A 12-year-old boy has died of bird flu in Cambodia, becoming the country's second bird flu victim this year and the sixth since 2003, a health official said.
"Testing of a sample taken from the boy conducted by the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh came out this morning and shows that he is positive for H5N1," Ly Sovann, director of the health ministry's infectious disease department, told AFP on Wednesday.
The boy had eaten sick chickens before falling ill, Ly Sovann said, adding he was admitted to a Phnom Penh hospital with fever and respiratory problems on Tuesday and died earlier Wednesday.
The boy was from Prey Veng province, some 90 kilometers (55 miles) east of Phnom Penh.
Michael O'Leary, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in Cambodia, said the global health body was working with the Cambodian government to investigate into the latest bird flu death.
"We are certainly very concerned about the situation in the chickens and ducks because there are now more provinces in Cambodia which had been confirmed" as having bird flu outbreaks, O'Leary said.
A three-year-old girl from Kompong Speu, some 45 kilometers (30 miles) west of Phnom Penh, died of bird flu virus last month after playing with sick chickens.
Bird flu has killed more than 100 people worldwide since 2003, mostly in Asia, according to the World Health Organisation.
Tell me please. Why is it that all the cannibalism and other people-eating stories seem to come out of Germany? You think it is a protein deficiency? Okay, not funny.
But check out this story from Germany on Reuters today. Yuck. And don't be surprised if these pigs get "mad people" disease.
BERLIN (Reuters) - A German farmer confessed to feeding the corpse of an elderly family friend to his pigs and then stealing from his bank account, police said Monday.
Police ruled out murder and the 29-year-old farmer has been charged with improper burial and fraud.
The elderly friend died in the farmer's yard in February 2005 and the farmer, through his mother, had power-of-attorney giving him access to the dead man's bank account and pension.
The farmer initially put the corpse in a deep freezer, police in the German town of Frizlar-Haddamar said, and told curious locals the old man was in a nursing home.
"From lectures about various religions the 29-year-old knew that Buddhists either burn the dead or allow wild animals to eat them. That was how he decided to feed the corpse to his pigs," the police statement said.
He let the corpse thaw, dismembered it and fed it to his pigs. He put the parts the pigs did not eat into a sack and buried it.
The farmer told police "it was a great act of stupidity" and said "the only explanation was his difficult financial situation at the time."
An amazing case of alcohol tolerance. Had he survived, he would be in Guinness! Bacchus rest his soul. From Reuters.
RIGA (Reuters) - A drunk Latvian had a blood-alcohol content more than 17 times the legal driving limit in the Baltic state when he was run over and killed, police said Tuesday.
The 50-year-old unnamed pedestrian, who also had more than twice the alcohol level considered lethal for most humans, was lying drunk on the road near his home in a remote part of eastern Latvia in the early hours.
Police said the man had probably been drinking home-made alcohol for several days because of the impossibility of reaching his blood-alcohol level of 0.9 percent in just a day.
They said the man was alive when he was run over by a car, creating a probable although unenviable record for alcohol consumption in hard-drinking Latvia.
"The cause of death has been marked down as a road accident, although the alcohol level would most likely have killed him anyway," said state police spokeswoman Kristine Mezaraupe.
Latvia, an ex-Soviet state which is still one of the poorest in the European Union, has a problem with heavy drinking, especially among men who have an average life expectancy of 66 years compared with 77 years for women.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Cultural differences were to blame for a food fight between Finland and Italy and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may have overestimated his charms, according to Finnish President Tarja Halonen.
Halonen said Finland was still "a bit astonished" over comments last week by Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi who told Italians he'd had to "endure" Finnish food and then added insult to injury by boasting he'd used "playboy tactics" to talk Halonen into ceding a new European food agency to Italy.
"Of course, we were a bit astonished concerning this speech of Mr Berlusconi and we have tried to find out what the facts were," Halonen told reporters on Thursday after addressing the U.N. Economic and Social Council.
"We have different kinds of cultures. I think Finnish food is very good," she said.
Berlusconi also may have given his powers of persuasion more credit than they deserve for the transfer of the food agency, Halonen said.
In what she called "a gentleman's agreement," she said the two nations broke a deadlock over where the food office should go by locating the European Chemical Agency in Helsinki.
"As a lady I am used to working with different men and I don't always notice their charm. But I am very much a woman of equality," she said.
But while Halonen answered questions about the flap with a smile, Finns were not amused by Berlusconi's comments.
Finland's union of agricultural producers (MTK) said members would avoid products such as Italian olive oil and wine, and the Italian ambassador was summoned by the Finnish government to express its surprise at Berlusconi's comments.
TAIPEI (Reuters) - It may take a strong stomach to eat curry or chocolate ice cream out of a toilet bowl, but a commode-themed restaurant in Taiwan does booming business serving up just that.
The Martun, or toilet in Chinese, restaurant in the southern port city of Kaohsiung boasts lengthy queues on weekends as diners wait for a toilet seat in its brightly colored tile interior.
Food arrives in bowls shaped like Western-style toilets or Asian-style "squat pots."
Manager Hung Lin-wen said the original inspiration came from a toilet-shaped spaceship in a Japanese cartoon. The theme has attracted droves of novelty-seeking young people who come to play with their food and gross out their friends.
"We think the theme is special, and the food is tasty," Hung said.
But no matter how delicious, a few customers still find the combination a little hard to swallow.
"The taste is good, but I still feel disgusted when I look at it," said diner Lin Yu-may.
SEOUL (Reuters) - Candy is dandy for North Korean children trying to grow tall, strong and smart in a country battling chronic food shortages.
North Korea has developed a candy it claims is good for children and will help them increase their height, weight and IQ, a pro-North Korea newspaper published in Japan said on Friday..
"Unlike medications that help growth by clinical methods or hormonal effects, the growth nutritional candy has no negative side effects," the Choson Sinbo said, based on an interview with the head of a nutritional research center in the North.
Unlike sugar-packed and chocolate-covered sweets, the North is hoping that children in the reclusive state will enjoy munching on their nutritional candy made of seaweed, beans, carrots and sesame seeds, the newspaper said.
The candy report comes on the same day a top U.N. agency official said the food shortage crisis in North Korea is growing more severe by the day and the communist state is dispensing "starvation rations" to its population.
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) - A Brazilian woman sent a poisoned pizza to a teenager she had a crush on, which landed the teenager, his six schoolmates and their teacher in the hospital in grave condition on Friday, police said.
Two of the victims were in a coma after sharing the pizza and others showed severe poisoning symptoms, such as bleeding from the throat, police said.
"We know it was a poison, but are still trying to find out what exact substance it was," said investigator Roberto Fonseca de Oliveira of Petrolina in Pernambuco state.
The victims were taken from Petrolina to Pernambuco's capital, Recife, 310 miles away, for urgent treatment.
De Oliveira said police had a letter addressed to one of the victims -- a 16-year-old identified only as Paulo. In a description provided to police, the man who had delivered the pizza said the suspect was a plump, short woman about 18 to 20 years old.
"She was either an ex-girlfriend or just had a strong interest in the guy," de Oliveira said.
More reasons to both give up junk food and become a vegan, like me. My friend, Michele Earl, found this on AP today.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - A woman's meal at a Wendy's restaurant brought a whole new meaning to the term "finger food." The woman bit into a portion of a human finger while eating a bowl of chili Tuesday night at the San Jose restaurant, Santa Clara County health officials said Wednesday.
The woman, who asked officials not to identify her, immediately spit out the finger and warned other diners to stop eating, witnesses said.
"Initially she did put this object in her mouth and did bite down on it and wasn't sure exactly what it was," Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Martin Fenstersheib said at a news conference. "She's doing OK. Initially she was a bit grossed out it was described to me, and vomited a number of times."
Fenstersheib said the finger had been cooked at a high enough temperature to kill any viruses.
Officials said the fingertip was approximately 1 3-8-inches long and a half-inch piece of fingernail was also found. They believe it belongs to a woman because of the long, manicured nail.
Health investigators seized all of the ingredients at the restaurant and are tracing them back to their manufacturer. They believe the finger got into the chili at an earlier stage.
"We have no evidence of any accident within the employees at the facility itself," said Ben Gale of the Santa Clara County Health Department. "We asked everybody to show us they have 10 fingers and everything is OK there."
The restaurant has had only one minor health violation stemming from a leaky vent, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
"Food safety is of utmost importance to us," Wendy's spokesman Joe Desmond said in a statement. "We are cooperating fully with the local police and health departments with their investigation. It's important not to jump to conclusions. Here at Wendy's we plan to do right by our customers."
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Alongside life-size posters of Hindu nationalist leaders, Indian political activists can now buy lotions, potions and pills to cure anything from cancer to hysteria to piles -- all made from cow urine or dung.
A new goratna (cow products) stall at the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) souvenir shop is rapidly outselling dry political tracts, badges, flags and saffron-and-green plastic wall clocks with the face of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
"You won't believe how quickly some of the products sold out," says Manoj Kumar, who runs the souvenir shop along with his brother, Sanjeev, at the BJP headquarters in a plush central New Delhi neighborhood. "The constipation medicine is a hot seller."
But the biggest seller is a "multi-utility pill" that claims to cure anything from diabetes to piles to "ladies' diseases."
"It's a miraculous cure" the container declares. A month's supply costs a little over $1.
Another cure-all is Sanjivani Ark, a liquid medicine that battles cancer, hysteria, and irregular periods, among other things.
In addition to medicines, the goratna products range from cow dung toothpaste, to detergents, a skin-whitening cream, baldness and obesity cures, soap and a cow urine "antiseptic aftershave."
Siddarth Singh, a spokesman for the Hindu nationalist BJP, which has long campaigned on the sanctity of the cow, said the stall aimed to promote village industry, one of the biggest employers in India.
"If you go back in the history of India, this belongs to our culture. There's no commercial value to us. Village industry in this country needs to be promoted."
The use of cow products in India is centuries old. The five key products -- butter, milk, curd, urine and dung -- are collectively known as panchgavya and are an important part of ayurvedic medicine.
The cow is worshipped by Hindus, who make up some 82 percent of India's over 1 billion people. Cow slaughter is banned in most parts of the country.
I wonder why they were unable to identify the Pizza worker who lost his tooth in the pizza in the first place.
ROME (Reuters) - An Italian restaurant that sold a pizza with a human tooth baked into the crust has been fined nearly $4,000 for a lack of hygiene.
"It's insanity," cried defense lawyer Massimiliano Manzo, who represented the Florence pizzeria.
"How is the owner of the pizzeria going to force employees to go to the dentist every day or strap a lid over their mouths?" he told Reuters by telephone.
The unidentified client discovered the tooth while chewing a mouthful of pizza in December 2000. He paid the bill, but refused a complimentary supper to patch things over and instead took legal action.
The owner of the tooth was never identified and Manzo refused to discuss how it got into the pizza in the first place.
According to Reuters, a North Carolina man bought a cup with water in it that Elvis Presley once sipped from. The buyer says he is keeping the cup -- though he is selling the remaining few spoons of water from in on eBay.
MIAMI (Reuters) - Wade Jones of North Carolina says he snared a plastic cup from which Elvis Presley drank at a concert in 1977 and kept the cup and the water for 27 years before selling the remaining few tablespoons of water on eBay.
The winning bid for the water was $455. He says he won't sell the cup.
A 40-year-old resident of Belmont, North Carolina, Jones said he was 13 when he attended a Presley concert at the Charlotte Coliseum in February, 1977, six months before the death of the rock 'n roll icon.
After the concert, Jones went to the stage looking for a souvenir. A policeman gave him the plastic foam cup, from which he had seen Elvis drinking earlier, he said.
Jones said he kept the cup and water in his freezer until 1985, when he transferred the water to a vial and sealed it. Over the years, he said, he acquired a photograph of Elvis holding the cup at that concert as authentication for his claim.
"I promise this thing is 100 percent legitimate," Jones said.
It was the $28,000 eBay sale of a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich in which some people saw the image of the Virgin Mary that persuaded him to auction off his Elvis water.
"I've been selling on eBay since 2000. People said you ought to sell that Elvis cup," Jones said. "When I heard the recent news ... about the grilled cheese sandwich, I kind of thought about it.
"I didn't get $28,000, it's true," he said of the winning bid on the 3-4 tablespoons of water. "But I'm happy."
Jones said he got a lot of e-mails asking how much he wanted for the cup. He's not going to sell but is offering to allow the highest bidder to "exhibit" it for a short time. Minimum bid is $300.
"It's something I've had since I was 13 and I'm just not going to get rid of it," he said.
BERLIN (Reuters) - Armin Meiwes, the German cannibal who gained global notoriety for eating a willing victim, is being immortalized in a movie by a gay filmmaker, and hardly surprisingly, the project is already running into controversy.
The film, whose working title is "Your Heart in My Brain," has received 20,000 euros ($24,580) in public funding from a regional film foundation in North Rhine-Westphalia, the western state ruled by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats.
Meiwes was sentenced in January to eight and a half years in jail for manslaughter after a trial whose gory details riveted Germany.
He admitted killing a Berlin computer specialist he met via the Internet, but was spared a murder verdict as the victim had asked to be eaten in a startling case of sexual fetishism.
Meiwes recorded the deed on video tape and shocked the court with his matter-of-fact account of how he severed the man's penis at the latter's request, and how they both tried to eat it, first raw and then fried in a saucepan.
Billed as a mix of "grotesqueness, thriller and documentary," the film by critically acclaimed filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim, a man, is stirring up political arguments even before its completion, set for December.
"Even the title of the project could scarcely be more tasteless," said Axel Wintermeyer, legal affairs spokesman for the conservative Christian Democrats in the state of Hesse.
"This is creating a monument to a perverted criminal," said Wintermeyer, adding he was appalled that it was being part-funded by taxpayers' money.
PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Bird flu may have decimated poultry businesses across Asia, but rat dealers have never had it so good.
"I've got a constant stream of customers," Van Vath, a rat butcher in the western Cambodian town of Battambang, told Wednesday's edition of Cambodge Soir.
With customers shying away from chicken for fear of catching the deadly flu virus that has killed millions of birds and at least 20 people, she has been selling more than 400 pounds of rodent meat every morning -- twice her normal turnover.
In far-flung corners of the jungle-clad and impoverished Southeast Asian nation, rat -- fried, grilled or roasted with garlic and vegetables -- is a highly prized delicacy.
It is not the only ingredient to be found scuttling on the rural Cambodian menu.
Spiders, water beetles, crickets, snakes, frogs and ants are all choice treats, with local tradition saying they were first eaten by starving peasants during the Khmer Rouge genocide in the 1970s.
Eating a meat-free, vegetarian diet may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, new research suggests.
After following more than 10,000 people for 17 years, investigators found that vegetarians were 15 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer than meat-eaters.
This study adds to the "increasing scientific evidence" that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fiber and low in meat--especially red and processed meat--can prevent colorectal cancer, study author Dr. Miguel Sanjoaquin of the University of Oxford, UK, told Reuters Health.
However, Sanjoaquin cautioned that only a small number of study participants -95--developed colorectal cancer, making it impossible to determine if fewer vegetarians developed cancer simply due to chance.
However, Sanjoaquin noted that a previous study featuring more cases of colorectal cancer confirmed these findings, and he added that it makes sense that eating vegetarian could cut cancer risk. The fat in red meat increases the excretion of substances called bile acids, he explained, which in turn produce other substances that encourage tumor growth.
Furthermore, meat contains natural compounds and substances formed during processing and high-temperature cooking that can disrupt the normal balance of cell growth in the colon, potentially triggering the cancer, Sanjoaquin noted.
Alternatively, substances in fruits and vegetables-- staples of the vegetarian diet--"may inhibit these adverse effects," he added.
During the current study, Sanjoaquin and his colleagues asked 10,998 adults about their eating habits and other health parameters, then noted who developed colorectal cancer.
People were classified as non-vegetarians if they ate meat
or fish. Vegetarians included vegans, who avoid all dairy and meat products ...
BERLIN (Reuters) - A German baker thwarted an armed robber by bombarding him with bread rolls and cakes, a police spokesman near the small western town of Wetzlar said on Friday.
The masked offender got a pasting after bursting into the bakery and demanding money at knifepoint. Instead of handing over the dough, the baker, 47, unloaded a barrage of bread rolls and pastries sending the robber scurrying out the door.
"He was surprised there was any resistance and ran away," said the spokesman. No one was hurt in the incident, but police said the robber escaped.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has sent in the army to bolster a week-long struggle to rescue 10 tons of beer trapped under Siberian ice, Itar-Tass news agency said Tuesday. A lorry carrying the beer sank when trying to cross the frozen Irtysh river, and a rescue team of six divers, 10 workers and a modified T-72 tank from the emergencies ministry have so far failed to save the load.
"The situation hasn't developed according to our ideal scenario," the deputy head of the Cherlaksky region, told the agency. Temperatures were around minus 27 degrees Celsius (minus 17 degrees Fahrenheit) in the region, near the Siberian city of Omsk and around 1,400 miles from Moscow.
A week-long effort to cut a 100 yard corridor to the river bank to pull the truck to dry land failed when the vehicle was swept away from the rescue site, Tass said.
But it said the soldiers were confident it would take them just a day to retrieve the beer.
SEATTLE (Reuters) - For Californians who can't get enough of bodybuilder turned film star turned governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a brewery in the neighboring state of Oregon is offering a new full-bodied beer labeled "The Governator."
Portland-based MacTarnahan's Brewing Co., which brews a popular regional beer of the same name, came up with the idea for the strong brew just before the holidays last year and has seen brisk demand for the ESB, or extra special bitter ale.
Called "The Governator Ale," the label features a man flexing his muscles beneath a logo of the state of California with the words "Pumpin Iron Brewing" superimposed on top.
"The big surprise is that The Governator, behind its novelty packaging, is actually top-notch," MacTarnahan's chief executive Jerome Chicvara said in a statement issued when the beer went on sale. "We're hoping this is a sign of things to come in Sacramento."
The beer, which is also higher in alcohol content, comes in oversized 22-ounce (625-ml) bottles that retail for about $2.99 each. It is available in California but, so far, distributors in the states of Oregon and Washington aren't interested, said company spokeswoman Renee Daniels.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - M&M's, the colorful button-shaped candies, are about to go off color for the first time in 60 years, but it remains to be seen whether their fans love or hate the change.
The chocolate-filled sugar-coated candies, made by a division of U.S. confectioner Mars Inc., will be available in only black and white for the next few months instead of the standard six colors as part of a promotional campaign.
Few foods are more alluring than fine chocolate, with its seductive blend of complex sweetness and velvety texture—and few become the object of such ardent obsessions. “Chocolate is a drug of abuse in its own category,” jokes Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the comprehensive weight-control program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. “It’s almost as if people have chocolate receptors in their brains.”
That may not be too far off the mark. In a recent book called “Breaking the Food Seduction,” Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine contends that certain foods—including chocolate, cheese, red meat and practically anything combining sugar and fat—are just plain addictive.
“These foods will not make you hallucinate or hold up a convenience store,” he says. But they do cause the brain to release its own natural opioids. “It’s not that you lack willpower,” he says. “These foods stimulate the release of chemicals in the brain’s pleasure center that keep you hooked.”
HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas woman was sentenced to 10 years in jail for running over the manager of a McDonald's with her car because she wanted mayonnaise on her cheeseburger.
Waynetta Nolan, 37, showed no emotion Thursday as the sentence was read in court following a trial in which the McDonald's manager, Sherry Jenkins, said she gave Nolan the mayonnaise she requested, but she flew into a rage anyway.
"I gave her everything she asked for -- mayonnaise, no mustard, onions, everything I could possibly do for this lady. Mayo, mayo, mayo, and it's still not good enough," Jenkins told reporters outside the courtroom.
Nolan, who was convicted of aggravated assault for the April 23 incident, became so angry when a McDonald's employee told her she could not get mayonnaise that she threw her cheeseburger into the drive-through the window, witnesses said.
Jenkins tried to placate her by offering a cheeseburger with mayonnaise, but Nolan continued to make demands until Jenkins finally called police.
When she went outside to write down Nolan's license plate number, Nolan ran her over, breaking her pelvis.
Nolan testified that she was putting ketchup on her cheeseburger when she accidentally struck Jenkins.
A cocktail of potentially harmful man-made chemicals has been found in the blood of every person tested in a new UK study.
The 155 volunteers, including EU environment commissioner Margot Wallstroem, were tested for gender-bending PCBs, flame retardants and organophosphates.
The study, commissioned by the environmental group WWF, focussed on 77 chemicals known to be "very persistent" in the environment and to accumulate in people's bodies. It is one of the most comprehensive studies to date.
The findings are "disturbing", says Matthew Wilkinson, lead author of the report and WWF UK toxics policy officer. "Every single person we monitored had a range of these chemicals."
I am perceived as anti-turkey. I'm aware of that. If you launch a campaign to change the national Thanksgiving dish from turkey to spaghetti carbonara, you have to expect some fallout. In 1981, I suggested that on the first Thanksgiving the Indians, having had some experience with Pilgrim cuisine in the past, may have shown up with a dish of their own and that it may have been a dish their ancestors had picked up generations before from Christopher Columbus, of Genoa's spaghetti carbonara. When the Pilgrims rejected it as "heretically tasty" and "the sort of thing foreigners eat," the Indian chief made a comment about the Pilgrims that caused the misunderstanding we live with today: "What a bunch of turkeys!" I hope it's a sign of my open-mindedness on this issue that I've recently developed an interest in fried turkey. I'm talking now about an entire turkey being lowered into several gallons of hot peanut oil or lard. Cautiously.