Americans Surveyed on Horsemeat and More News
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In today's Weekly Media Mix, bacon tied to early death, plus organic Chinese restaurants
The Daily Meal brings you the biggest news from the food world.
How do chemicals get into our food? Even after one family went all-organic for five days, their BPA levels doubled. [HuffPo]
According to a poll, 32 percent of Americans think horsemeat-tainted products should be distributed to the poor. But people would also rather eat ostrich and alligator, but not dog meat. Never dogs. [YouGov]
A look at Behind the Kitchen Door, examining the exploitation of food workers in America. [KCET]
Sausage, bacon, and other processed meats have been found to be linked to early deaths. Not surprising, considering past studies finding links to pancreatic cancer. [Times of India]
Organic Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley struggle to gain loyal customers in a sea of lower-priced, non-organic, traditional eateries. [LA Times]
Survey Finds That Too Many People Still Think Chocolate Milk Comes from Brown Cows
On World Milk Day, find out about some of America's strangest milk-drinking habits.
Milk is such a presence in our lives we probably take it for granted. Thank goodness, then, for today, World Milk Day — one of those weird food holidays which are sometimes invented by interest groups to push a certain product. Regardless of the so-called holiday&aposs origins, let’s take this opportunity to delve into some of the ways people appreciate milk in their daily lives.
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy conducted a survey of more than 1,000 adults 18 and over in April of this year. They uncovered some shocking facts about how people think about – and drink – milk.
First off, 48% of respondents said that they aren’t sure where chocolate milk comes from. Um, guys, it comes from cows – and not just the brown kind.
Still, 7% of people – and remember, this survey talked to actual, grown-up adults – still think that chocolate milk only comes from brown cows. Actually, chocolate milk gets its flavor and color from cocoa beans.
Now that you know what milk-myths are still floating around out there, what about the ways people drink their milk?
A fair chunk of people are still hanging on to their taboo kitchen habits: 37% secretly drink milk straight out of the container, while another 29% use their kids as an excuse to buy chocolate milk for themselves.
And despite the fact that healthy lifestyle diets are all the rage right now, only 5% of people abstain from drinking milk altogether, making it a continued staple in most people’s homes.
In fact, it seems to still be one of America’s favorite beverages: One quarter of participants reported taking a trip to the grocery store before 6 in the morning just to buy milk.
We just can’t seem to escape dairy in any of its forms: An additional 95% of people surveyed currently have some type of cheese in their refrigerator.
So there you have it. Even though an unfortunate number of people can&apost seem to figure out where it comes from, milk is still beloved by Americans.
Cooking survey says Americans prefer to find recipes on social media rather than cookbooks
According to a new survey, 22 percent of Americans have posted photos of their home-cooked meals on social media in the last six months, while 44 percent of those in the “millennial” age range admitted they have done so in the same time frame.
This trend toward social-supping is just one of many observed in the "State of the Dinner Plate" survey conducted by Nielsen on behalf of meal-kit service Plated, which questioned participants on their cooking, dining and delivery habits.
When it comes to social media, respondents of all ages also showed a preference for finding recipe inspiration on Instagram or Pinterest rather than a cookbook (34 percent vs. 17 percent). Meanwhile, just under half of the millennials within that group preferred finding recipes on social media.
This sandwich is too pretty not to Instagram. (iStock)
Nielsen’s survey suggests the younger crowd might be onto something, too. According to the findings, millennials were more likely to plan their weekly dinner menus than that home-cooks overall. They were also more likely to cook with their significant other, and more likely to try new recipes.
Additional findings gave a further glimpse into American eating habits, such as: 1 in 4 families said they eat dinner in front of a TV every night half of the respondents said dinner lasts only between 10 and 20 minutes and 3 in 4 households said they preferred not to plan weekly dinner menus ahead of time.
Plated did not disclose how many people were surveyed for the "State of the Dinner Plate," but a representative for Nielsen confirmed that just under 900 participated in the study. The same rep could not comment on the pretty couscous dish you posted to Instagram last week.
“It is either you trust the vaccine, or you do not,” said Kristin Harrington, an epidemiology Ph.D. student at Emory. “And if we trust the vaccine, that means an unlimited number of vaccinated individuals should be allowed to gather together.”
Others acknowledged that policy decisions are based on many goals, such as invigorating the economy and incentivizing people to get vaccinated.
Yet most said mask-wearing continued to be necessary for now, because the number of vaccinated Americans had not yet reached a level that scientists consider necessary to significantly slow the spread of the virus. Until then, there are too many chances for vaccines, which are not 100 percent effective, to fail, they said.
“Crowded circumstances, indoors or outdoors, necessitate a mask until community levels of Covid are much lower,” said Luther-King Fasehun, a doctor and an epidemiology Ph.D. student at Temple University.
Sally Picciotto, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley, said the decision to stop wearing masks indoors “depends on more people rolling up their sleeves to get the shot.”
Respondents also said that as long as the virus was still spreading, masks were important to protect high-risk people and those who cannot be vaccinated, like children or people who have underlying health conditions.
“Until community transmission is lower, it protects the whole community and the other people in the room to wear masks,” including children, immunosuppressed people and Black and Latino communities who have been hit harder by Covid-19, said Julia Raifman, an assistant professor of public health at Boston University.
One-quarter of the epidemiologists in the survey said they thought people would need to continue wearing masks in certain settings indefinitely, and some said they planned to continue to wear them in places like airplanes or concert halls, or during the winter virus season.
“Heck, I may wear a mask for every flu season now,” said Allison Stewart, the lead epidemiologist at the Williamson County and Cities Health District in Texas. “Sure has been nice not to be sick for over a year.”
Alana Cilwick, an epidemiologist at the Colorado Department of Public Health, said, “I plan to wear a mask indoors for the foreseeable future given the amount of vaccine hesitancy we are seeing, especially in higher-risk settings like the gym or on an airplane.”
Just one-fifth of epidemiologists said it was safe for fully vaccinated people to socialize indoors without masks in a group of unlimited size. A majority said indoor gatherings should be limited to five or fewer households.
Even outside, where the coronavirus is much less likely to spread, nearly all the epidemiologists said it was necessary to keep wearing masks in crowds, when people are near others whose vaccination status they don’t know.
“Masks are the second-most helpful prevention strategy we have to vaccines,” Professor Raifman said.
Why don’t Americans eat horses?
The great horse meat controversy of 2013 is growing with word today that Swedish meatballs sold by Ikea were found to contain horse meat in the Czech Republic.
Is this a health issue or a cultural issue? Yes.
In her essential guide to the horsemeat scandal, Felicity Lawrence of The Guardian says one problem is the drugs used in some horses:
Horses are routinely treated with an anti-inflammatory drug called phenylbutazone, or “bute”. Bute is banned from the human food chain, because it can in rare cases cause a potentially life threatening illness, aplastic anaemia, or bone marrow failure. Since it is not known what triggers the illness, it has not been possible to set any safe level for bute residues in human food. Doses from horsemeat are likely to be very low. Horse passports are supposed to record any bute administered so that animals can be excluded from going for food, but with large numbers of fake passports in circulation, some horses containing bute have been eaten.
And Marion Nestle, who writes the Food Politics blog, calls the scandal the politics of cultural identity. That is to say: We don’t eat horses.
Most Americans say they won’t eat horsemeat, are appalled by the very idea, and oppose raising horses for food, selling their meat, and slaughtering horses for any reason.
These attitudes have created dilemmas. Since Congress effectively banned horse slaughter in 2006, roughly 140,000 horses a year have been transported to Canada and Mexico to be killed. Whether this is better or worse for the horses is arguable. Some–perhaps most–of that meat will be exported as food.
And when Americans turn to horse meat, it means — usually — that we are in times of desperation. Oh yes, America, you’ve turned to horse meat before, Business Insider says:
There’s ample evidence that when food ran out during the Civil War and even World War II, eating horse meat became a common (and cheap) solution. In fact, it became so popular that by 1951, Time Magazine was reporting it was an important meat in Oregon cuisine, with recipes included at the end of the article for horse meat fillets.
In 1973, a similar food shortage occurred that sent butcher shops reaching once more for the horse meat. That same year, however, a Republican Senator from Pennsylvania sponsored a bill to ban the sale of horse meat and make it illegal for horse slaughter houses to operate. It was the first time eating horse meat was legally questioned on a federal level in America.
Horse meat was effectively banned in the United States in 2007, when Congress stripped financing for federal inspections of horse slaughter, but this was reversed by Congress under Obama in 2011. (Though many states continue to have their own specific laws regarding horse slaughter and the sale of horse meat.)
But when any food scandal breaks, the real story isn’t so much what’s in the food, but why a system of inspection and monitoring wasn’t able to prevent it from reaching the dinner plate.
Jobs Report Might Shift Thinking on Inflation and Yields
U.S. employers added 916,000 jobs in March or some 241,000 more than predicted by a Wall Street Journal survey of economists. February’s gains were revised higher as well. It is the latest sign of a quickening recovery in the U.S. economy as Covid-19 cases fall and more Americans are vaccinated.
Those same economists’ forecasts indicate that fears of major-league pressure on wages and prices are overblown even as the economy’s pace quickens. A glance at March’s government data would lead to the same conclusion with hourly wages declining slightly and employment in areas like retail and accommodations and food service still well below pre-pandemic levels. The surveyed economists see the headline unemployment rate at 5%, the Consumer Price Index up by 2.5% year-over-year and the benchmark 10 year Treasury note yielding 1.78% by this December.
But the surprisingly quick pace of recovery could force them to rethink their calculations. The survey week on which the March payrolls report was based came before Americans began to receive their latest stimulus checks and when tens of millions fewer vaccines had been administered than today. A report on Thursday by the National Federation of Independent Business showed a record share of respondents with job openings and a one-year high in the share of businesses that were raising wages to attract workers.
That latter figure is still below what business owners reported immediately before the pandemic when the unemployment rate hovered near an all-time low of 3.5%. Even so, there are so many other transitory price pressures from food and energy prices to logistics bottlenecks that workers might wield their improving bargaining power to keep their purchasing ability steady as labor slack disappears.
You’re Not Alone: Survey Proves That Americans Are Completely and Embarrassingly Obsessed With Zillow
More than half of Americans have canceled plans to browse house listings on Zillow.
Real estate listing site Zillow.com surged in popularity amid the coronavirus pandemic. With 245 million monthly unique users in 2020 alone, homebound and stir-crazy Americans flocked to the site in record numbers.
That&aposs no surprise to those of us who repeatedly find ourselves scrolling through million-dollar listings in the wee hours of the night. But can you blame us? Zillow offers an escape from monotony and a chance to dream about future possibilities—no matter how unlikely they may be.
MarketWatch calls browsing sites like Zillow or Realtor.com "the 21st Century equivalent of driving around the neighborhood to stop by open houses" for a peek inside your neighbors&apos homes.
"There are lots of people who like looking at houses for a hobby," Bill Gassett, a real-estate associate with RE/MAX Executive Realty, told MarketWatch. "Visiting open houses is definitely a hobby. With COVID, they are all on the computer instead."
Horse Slaughter Approved in U.S.: 5 Reasons Not to Eat Horse Meat
The U.S. Congress has lifted a five-year-old ban on horse slaughter in America, and many believe it's likely that horse meat for human consumption may be available within the month.
That doesn't mean, however, that many Americans will be taking Congress up on the offer.
There are legitimate arguments for the consumption of horse meat, which countries like France, Italy and Japan do on a regular basis, and there are some good reasons for arguing that legal, regulated slaughterhouses would be better than the illegal horse slaughtering and barely-legal exporting tht goes on today.
For those who wonder why horse slaughter was ever even challenged, however, and who view horse meat as simply another form of animal protein like beef pork, here are five reasons many give to support bringing back the ban on horse slaughter plants.
In response to 5 Reasons to Eat Horse Meat, here are my 5 Reasons to Keep Horse Meat Banned.
1. Horse slaughter is unethical, cruel and inhumane.
Over 300 animal welfare organizations, horse trade groups, prominent horse owners and corporate buyers oppose horse slaughter and the consumption of horse meat, and for good reason, too.
Horses suffer abuse in the slaughterhouse system from the feedlot to the transport to the execution itself, and there is no reason to believe limited government regulation will change that.
A graphic 30-page report by Animals Angels laid out the process: after being held in dangerously cramped and overcrowded pens, horses are subjected to brutal treatment by handlers to shove them into transport trucks. They then spend hours or even day trapped in double-decked trailers with no rest, no water and no food (for 28 hours by law).
Then comes the slaughter itself. In most countries horses are stunned by a captive bolt gun, similar to the process used on cattle, before being exsanguinated (bled out). Though most slaughter houses follow this rule and use trained slaughter technicians, others have been known to place the captive bolt incorrectly, operating under the assumption that a horse's brain is no different than a cow's brain.
Despite the simple training needed to correctly knock the horse unconscious and achieve brain destruction before exsanguination, slaughterhouse have been known to simply stun the animal before bleeding them out.
Slaughterhouses are often horrific across the country, and certainly beyond the U.S. But arguing that cows, pigs and chickens are slaughtered just as inhumanely as horses would be doesn't add much to an argument in favor of eating horse meat.
2. Any horse can be slaughtered. or stolen.
Horse meat can legally come from any type of equine. Children's ponies, retired show or carriage horses, or simply an animal that the family can no longer afford are all used in horse meat. And although some argue horse slaughter is an efficient and ultimately more humane way to kill animals that are slowly dying, anti-slaughter advocates report that up to 90 percent of horses killed for meat are young and healthy.
Nor do the horses even have to be legally bought and owned to find themselves up for slaughter. Stolen horses ending up in slaughter houses have been a reoccurring news story since the early 1970s. Thieves can make up $1,000 per horse depending on the plant that buys it. Nor do they have to operate through a black market to do so: many more horses are illegally sold at auctions, where original ownership is hard to trace. All evidence of the crime is soon destroyed, leaving little way for the government to prosecute the thieves.
3. Horses are intelligent social creatures
Many Americans consider horses to be companion animals like their pet cats or dogs, and even those who don't still feel indebted to them as work animals and for their role in various sports. Beyond their usefulness on a farm or their companionship as pets, however, horses are prized by so many people because they can seem so incredibly human.
Though horses don't have the conceptual intelligence humans possess, they do have incredible memories and mental skills, especially when it comes to tricks like unlocking their pens, getting out of ropes and navigating difficult terrain. Some horses even qualify to be Guide Horses, much like service dogs, with ponies and miniature horses especially are singled out to help the blind.
Beyond their respective intelligences, however, horses are also known to be incredibly social animals, and often include the humans who raise them in their own inter-species herd. Those who've bred, owned or trained horses are quick to give examples of the ways in which they feel a horse is part of their family even more than a cat or dog, being both strong enough to take care of themselves and social enough to connect with others.
These arguments could be used to oppose the slaughter of many animals used for meat, especially pigs (who, despite popular belief, are very intelligent and affectionate animals). For the purposes of this ban, however, many in the U.S. will find it very difficult to reconcile what they know of horse behavior and capabilities with the idea that they should be eaten.
4. Most Americans oppose horse slaughter.
To date, 70 percent of Americans oppose slaughtering horses, and roughly the same amount or more were in favor of the de facto ban on horse meat production by the U.S. Congress five years ago. In a recent CNN poll, 45 percent of those surveyed said they would never eat horse meat, no matter what the provocation, and another 18 percent said they would only eat it under dire circumstances.
In fact, one of President Obama's lesser-known campaign promises were to those who supported an all-inclusive ban on horse slaughter and horse meat consumption in the U.S., including the exporting of horses into Mexico and Canada for slaughter.
Finally, by signing this bill, President Obama will not only be going against those who are opposed to animal cruelty but also possibly hurting the economy. Federal regulation and tacit approval of re-opened slaughterhouses would cost Americans roughly $50 million, and all for horse meat that few in the U.S. will eat, instead shipped overseas to the dozens of other countries who view horse meat as a delicacy.
5. Chemicals like bute could kill you.
According to recent studies, people who consume horse meat are often at risk for being poisoned by phenulbutazone, also known as bute. The non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug was supposed to be used for severe cases of arthritis, but have been found to cause serious and sometimes lethal side-effects in humans.
Because horses are not as effected by bute as people are, however, the drug is frequently utilized at thoroughbred racetracks. It is also, however, used nationwide by many horse owners to mitigate pain from injuries the animal have sustained. Some of those horses will end up becoming horse meat, and that means some humans will likely end up with seizures, ulcers, aplastic anemia and severe organ damage.
And that's just the most well-known poison. Many American horses, almost none of which are of the breed to feed variety, are pumped full of chemicals and toxins to keep them on their feet for carriage rides or to improve their speed during races. Everyday products like equine de-wormer or fly spray can also find their way into horse meat.
Americans Love Pepperoni, Hate Anchovies, Finds Unsurprising Poll
A recent Harris Poll got to the bottom of Americans’ pizza preferences, finally. The poll surveyed 193 adults on their favorite and least-favorite pizza toppings as well as crusts of choice and picks for beverage pairings. Here are the poll’s findings:
People love pepperoni. The top spot in toppings rankings went to pepperoni, with sausage coming in second. Mushrooms took third while classic plain cheese came in fourth. Appropriately, ham and pineapple, which typically accompany each other on Hawaiian pizza, tied for eighth.
Thin crust reigns supreme. Sorry, Chicagoans, but New York’s signature thin crust is the most popular type of crust, with 29 percent of the votes. French bread and Sicilian crust came in at the bottom, with “regular” crust, deep dish and stuffed crust falling in the middle of the pack.
No one wants anchovies. The pungent, salty fish were number one in the list of people’s least favorite toppings. Strangely, mushrooms also appear on this list, mirroring their #2 spot on the favorites list.
Pizza and beer belong together. More than half of those polled said that their preferred pairing for pizza was a frothy, cold beer. Within that group, 29 percent said they specifically want a non-craft domestic beer, followed closely by craft beer hounds and those who like their brew imported.
Some people don’t eat pizza. Probably the poll’s most surprising discovery is that there are people in this country who don’t eat pizza. Two percent of those surveyed said they didn’t touch the crispy, cheesy, saucy, indescribably delicious stuff.
Is Horse Meat Legal In The U.S.? Yes It Is, And We Ate Some (VIDEO)
After the horse meat scandal shook consumer confidence across Europe, we were wondering: Is it legal to buy and eat horse meat here in the U.S.? And if so, what does it taste like?
So we set out to buy some.
While it's legal in most states to buy and sell horse meat, we couldn't find a supplier here in the U.S., where the last horse slaughterhouse closed years ago. However, we were able to find a wide selection of horse jerky from a small company in Wales and have some shipped to our offices in New York.
Cowley's Fine Food, which sold us the horse jerky, buys its horse meat frozen from Kezie Foods, an exotic meat supplier in Scotland. The meat is marinated and air-dried to make it into jerky.
(Story continues below.)
Cowley's "Black Beauty" horse jerky is 100% beef free.
But is it any good? We decided to do a blind taste test to see if people could tell the difference between horse and beef -- and to see which they liked better.
The results might surprise you.
While most of our fifteen contestants (66 percent) were able to correctly identify which meat was which, the beef jerky's taste earned only slightly higher ratings than the horse. Some contestants actually preferred the horse.
Click the video above to watch the horse meat taste test.
Although we bought our horse jerky from the U.K., horse meat is not common there. Indeed, British people seem to have the same cultural aversion as Americans do to eating horse. Nevertheless, there are a handful of horse slaughterhouses operating in the U.K., whereas in the U.S. there are none.
Making horses into meat was effectively illegal in the U.S. from 2006-2011, but for years the U.S. has allowed horses to be shipped to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada, where eating horse meat is more popular. A proposed law would end the practice of shipping horses outside the U.S for slaughter.
Animal rights groups say that horses sometimes endure cruel treatment while being transported and can suffer unnecessarily prolonged deaths at such slaughterhouses.