Food Politics: Jan. 27, 2011

International Food Politics:

Indigenous activists in Bolivia have been holding a mass coca-chewing protest as part of campaign to end an international ban on the practice.  Hundreds of people chewed the leaf outside the US embassy in La Paz and in other cities across the country.

Bolivia wants to amend a UN drugs treaty that bans chewing coca, which is an ancient tradition in the Andes.  But the US has said it will veto the amendment because coca is also the raw material for making cocaine.

The protesters outside the US embassy also displayed products made from coca, including soft drinks, toothpaste, sweets and ointments. […]

The US is opposed to changing the UN convention because it says it would weaken the fight against cocaine production. […]

The US is the world’s largest consumer of cocaine and has been leading efforts to eradicate coca production in the Andes for decades.  Bolivia is the world’s first biggest producer of cocaine after Peru and Colombia, and much of its coca crop is used to make the illegal drug.  Bolivian President Evo Morales has long advocated the recognition of coca as a plant of great medicinal, cultural and religious importance that is distinct from cocaine.

More articles after the jump…

Domestic Food Politics:

Mark Bittman:

The best thing about Mark Bittman, to us, is how he validated our particular lifelong half-assed “well that looks pretty good enough” cooking habits. Because we were right, all along! There is no single recipe for anything, and people who obsess over measuring and “having all the ingredients” and everything are, basically, insane people. That is not how you cook to eat, which is the point of cooking: to make a meal you are going to eat, at that point in time.

Food Recall:

The Food and Drug Administration has announced that Massachusetts-based State Garden Co. has issued a voluntary recall of fresh-cut salad products processed in its plant on January 4. The recall comes after samples of State Garden salad mixes were found to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

State Garden distributes packaged salad products throughout the Northeast. The affected products include baby conventional and organic arugula, baby spinach, baby romaine, spring mix and organic herb salad. These products are marketed under the following names: Gold Quality, Hannaford, Natures Place, Natures Promise, Roche Bros, Northeast Fresh, Noreast Fresh, Olivia’s Organics, Signature, Wegmans.

The products that are being recalled have trace-back codes of 45693 and 45703, which are typically found in the upper right corner of bag labels. The “best if used by” date should be no later than January 15, 2011. The FDA has provided a complete list for consumers.

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