This news report was carried in the Toronto Star and numerous other papers. Perhaps it is best that we stick to freshly prepared items where we know what goes in and are offered to Their Lordships Radha & Krishna. Prasadam...truly, karma free food or you can take your chances...
Frappuccino's colourful ingredients made from bodies of ground insects.
The Seattle Times
SEATTLE—When Starbucks changed its Frappuccino mix a couple years ago, it made sure the new ingredients were dairy-free. But no one said anything about being bug-free.
Turns out the strawberry sauce used in strawberries-and-cream Frappuccinos contains cochineal extract, which is made from the bodies of ground-up insects indigenous to Latin America.
A vegan barista who works for Starbucks sent a picture of the sauce’s ingredient list to a vegetarian blog called www.ThisDishIsVegetarian.com, which posted it earlier this month. The revelation sparked some criticism from advocacy groups questioning the practice.
“The strawberry base for our Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino does contain cochineal extract, a common natural dye that is used in the food industry, and it helps us move away from artificial ingredients,” said spokesman Jim Olson.
The base also is used in Starbucks’ strawberry smoothies, he said, and the insect-derived extract is in some other foods and drinks the chain sells, including its red velvet whoopie pies.
Starbucks is hardly the only one.
Cochineal extract and a similar ingredient called carmine, also made from the insects, are bright red and can be found in fruit juices, gelatins and other foods, as well as many makeup products.
They were used for red dye in Mexico before the Spaniards arrived, and the Italian liqueur Campari originally contained carmine dye.
Tropicana’s website lists carmine as a colorant in its non-refrigerated ruby red grapefruit juice, and Dole lists cochineal extract as an ingredient in some of its fruit-in-gel products.
Three years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said food and cosmetic products must declare on their labels that they contain cochineal extract or carmine. The rule went into effect in early 2011.
Until then, the insect additives often were listed as “artificial colours” or “colour added.”
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, an activist group that pushed the FDA for the new labeling requirement, said the agency should have banned the colorants altogether or at least required that the labels explain that they come from insects.
“All food companies would be well advised to colour their foods with real food and not either artificial dyes or an ostensibly natural dye like carmine,” said the center’s spokesman, Jeff Cronin.
In the case of Starbucks’ strawberry Frappuccinos, he said, “I bet real strawberries could be used. Why simulate the colour of strawberries when you could probably get a pretty good result with strawberries or beet juice or something that won’t concern your customers?”
Cochineal extract and carmine cause allergic reactions in a small segment of the population, he said, and are off-limits for most Jews who keep kosher and vegans and vegetarians, who do not eat animals.
Joe M. Regenstein, a professor of food science at Cornell University, remembers Ben & Jerry’s taking the cochineal-derived colour out of its Cherry Garcia ice cream to make it kosher and to make its ingredient label easier to understand.
Now Cherry Garcia’s label lists “fruit and vegetable concentrates” for color.
Other red foods that are more specific include Whole Foods’ 365-brand pink lemonade, which includes sweet potato, red radish, cherry and apple extracts and Fuze strawberry guava’s chokeberry and carrot extracts.
A not so yummy ingredient in Starbuck's and other foods
Govinda's is a great way to give people prasadam and introduce them to Krishna Consciousness. In personal observation, Govinda's/Hare Krishna restaurants are making a come back and in recent months we have seen positive articles about Govinda's in various temples in North America. Here is another nice article about Govinda's in Tucson and although it appears in the local university paper...talk about addressing the right audience :)
Garden state of mind
Govinda’s serves up vegetarian feast and tranquil dining experience for studentsBy CECELIA MARSHALL January 20, 2012
Not all restaurant owners can say their menu items are carefully prepared by monks, or that the building is attached to a temple, or that their guests can enjoy the company of live macaws in the dining room — Govinda’s Natural Foods Buffet offers all these features and is still adding on with the celebration of the opening of its new library this Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. including, of course, vegetarian refreshments and snacks.
Open since 1992, Govinda’s is a nonprofit organization and restaurant known for its vegan and vegetarian options as well as its therapeutic atmosphere. Its resort-like environment, attached to a Hare Krishna temple, is enclosed within a colorfully decorated oasis.
If you’re feeling adventurous, wander inside and kick off your shoes, sit cross-legged on the floor and eat in the temple room. The free Wi-Fi and the quiet atmosphere makes it an ideal place to escape to finish a paper or study for an exam.
The restaurant has served as a Hare Krishna center for prayer, meditation and transcendental classes for almost 25 years. The Hare Krishna monks, many of whom live on the property, are the chefs in the kitchen and have been specially trained to cook the vegetarian dishes.
The monks cook with only good intentions, and make the food gently and kindly, so that when you eat it, you feel well, said Gene Filaseta of the temple management team. Filaseta added that each worker considers it his or her job to be morally pure in order to serve food that “nourishes the whole being.”
Govinda’s serves only organic produce, including raw, unprocessed grains and unrefined sugars. All the employees, from cooks to dishwashers, are vegetarian. The restaurant’s chefs also make their own cheese and grind their own spices. Food at the buffet is at least 75 percent vegan, although Govinda’s offers a completely vegan menu on Thursdays and Indian food specials on Tuesdays.
“The flavors mix well together,” said Shaina Shay, a senior studying French and environment and water resource economics. She explained that she enjoys Govinda’s medley of organic salad dressings, including cashew dressing and sweet mustard dressing, which she mixed together on her salad instead of choosing only one.
Govinda’s also features samosas, homemade apricot bread, vegetarian sloppy joes, eggplant parmesan, lentil croquettes and scrambled tofu for their Sunday brunches.
Govinda’s is a buffet, but the goal isn’t to eat as much as possible. Instead, it’s all about enjoying the flavors, the process of eating and the atmosphere of the restaurant.
Conn Huffaker, who was visiting from Wisconsin, said he found Govinda’s to be peaceful.
“The grounds are very attractive with the birds and koi,” Huffaker said, commenting on the surroundings with peacocks, a waterfall and guest accommodations.
Govinda’s also has a gift shop, which offers unique treasures such as jewelry, candles, incense, books, CDs and more, all imported directly from India, Thailand, Nepal and Bali.
Make sure you walk around outside during your visit to Govinda’s Natural Foods Buffet. Whether you find yourself reflecting near the koi pond, peering at the peacocks and parakeets, or stumbling across the many Hare Krishna sculptures, Govinda’s is sure to be a cultural experience for anyone interested in visiting.
As I am chanting, the smell of pancakes is coming from the kitchen. After I hear the offering, I expectantly look for breakfast and I am greeted by a sorry looking pancake...and on top of that just one! I see a plate of nice round and fluffy pancakes and I am puzzled as to why I am getting just one and on top of that the pancake that did not quite make the cut.
I ask Kishori and she explains me that all the pancakes are for the kids. The school is having the kids make pancakes this morning and she does not want the kids to feel deprived as they look at other kids eating "eggy" pancakes. So she got up and made them prasadam pancakes. All of a sudden I am not minding getting the leftover pancake.
Kishori does something similar for Pizza day, Sub day and their endless list of special events at school. It makes me appreciate Kishori. It also makes me appreciate my parents since they made similar efforts and I never felt deprived in school.
We are now trying to raise a third generation of devotees and I am sure as other parents can understand this is not a easy task with the many distractions, temptations and functions we face. However, in my book, these small things make a big difference. Inspiration and not deprivation is a key ingredient to increase the chances that these kids choose a devotional path as they grow up.
And that is the story of how I had a "sorry" pancake for breakfast. Well sort of...Gopika snuck me one of her pancakes :-)
A quote from one of Srila Prabhupada's letters:
These children are given to us by Krishna, they are Vaisnavas and we must be very careful to protect them. These are not ordinary children, they are Vaikuntha children, and we are very fortunate we can give them chance to advance further in Krishna Consciousness. That is very great responsibility, do not neglect it or be confused. Your duty is very clear. Hoping this will meet you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.
In recent weeks you have probably noticed more social unrest and rioting around the world. This is being directly caused by increased slaughter of animals. The most influential and recognized economist in the world, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recognized this issue this month and so does the United Nation.
I watched the news clip live a few weeks ago as Ben Bernanke talked about the co-relation of eating beef and rising food prices and it drove me to find the quote from Reuters and write this article.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation Food Price Index on Thursday touched its highest level since records began in 1990 as rising food prices showed no sign of relenting, prompting concerns of social unrest.
He (Bernanke) said higher food prices were stoked by increasing consumer demand in emerging economies for such things as meat.
"As people's diets are becoming more sophisticated and as they eat more beef and less grains and so on, the demand for food and energy rise and that's the primary long-term factor affecting the real price of commodity and food," Bernanke said.
Bernanke says their diets are becoming more "sophisticated" but in reality "barbarian" is more apt of a term. Now it does not take a genius economist to figure out how to resolve this social unrest and looming crisis for inflation and food prices. It will simply take a return to a natural human diet of vegetarian food.
To explain the crisis some simple stats comparing the production of beef to wheat. It takes 18 times more fossil fuel per calorie to produce beef compared to wheat. It takes 15 times the land to produce beef. It takes a whopping 200 times the water to produce a pound of beef compared to wheat. The ratios are similarly dispraportionate for all major categories of grains. This animals are bred by meat producers and fattened up by giving them about 16 pounds of grain for every pound of beef produced.
All of the above stats do not take into account the inhumane conditions and countless suffering animals are put through just to feed a barbarian diet. Of course, the serious karmic reactions of animal killing is on top of all of these basic arguments.
As Srila Prabhupada said:
"We simply request, Don't kill. Don't maintain slaughterhouses. That is very sinful. It brings down very severe karmic reactions upon society. Stop these slaughterhouses".
Below is an insteresting article from the Montreal Gazette. It is about a business success story that was compelled through the preaching of a Hare Krishna devotee. Inder Bedi was convinced to go vegetarian and he has spun that into a line of vegan products which are now distributed through high end retailers. To his credit, he gives credit to the Hare Krishna devotee who began his journey.
Vegan compassion is in the bag Matt and Nat's Inder Bedi By Eva Friede, Gazette Style Editor
MONTREAL - Inder Bedi has often told the story of how he built a handbag empire on compassion. The 37-year-old founder of Matt & Nat vegan accessories was asked at age 18 by a Hare Krishna priest to go vegetarian for 30 days:
“And it changed my whole life,” he says.
Almost 20 years later, Bedi’s Via Vegan company is thriving, although he won’t provide numbers. His faux leather bags, belts and wallets under the Matt & Nat label are sold in Canada, the U.S., U.K., Italy, Germany, France and elsewhere – in perhaps thousands of shops, Bedi allowed.
“It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the people that we touch. I meet someone who says, ‘I love what you guys stand for,’ ’’ Bedi said at a Holt Renfrew event, where five bloggers took up the challenge to style a mannequin using a Matt & Nat bag exclusive to the department store.
Naturally, there was no shrimp or chicken at the event, but tofu in cucumber, lentil salad in bamboo boats and avocado on chips. And the bloggers were not allowed to use real leather or fur in their stylings, with items gleaned from the third floor of the store.
The store staged the event to put the spotlight on bloggers and as part of a plan to promote local design.
Bedi was in the news recently when a former employee complained that the company violated her rights as a non-vegetarian by banning meat and fish on company premises.
“I think she’s entitled to her opinion,’’ he said. “When people are hired, they are made aware of the meatless policy on the premises.”
Most employees are not vegetarian, he said, noting many companies around the world are adopting meatless Monday policies.
“The United Nations a couple of years ago came out with a report saying the best thing you can do for the environment is adopt a vegetarian lifestyle,’’ he said.
He said he is vegan for “compassion, for love, for everything that’s living, breathing.’’
The bags are not shiny, cheap synthetics. Some cost as much as $300, and the materials are soft and supple. One called Stardust resembles soft metallic suede; another fabric looks like tie-dye denim, but is sturdy leather-like material. All use at least one recycled material; some bags have a tag saying 21 recycled plastic bottles went into the making of the item.
The industry has come a long way, Bedi said of the fabric development.
“We work with labs in Japan and Korea trying to push the envelope. Linings are now made out of recycled water bottles,’’ he added.
Jocelyne Hamel, the handbag buyer for Browns, noted the high prices because of the costly material, saying some are too high for their customers, although spring styles will be more affordable.
The bags are useful, not too fashionable – everyday bags for every season. “They are colourful and animal friendly, of course,’’ she said. “They have their own style.’’
The company has also collaborated with Apple, designing a line of laptop bags including the Mantra, $110, and the Ritual, $180, both available on Apple’s website.
Bedi, who employs about 20 workers at his Chabanel St. headquarters and manufactures in the Orient, attributes his success to passion for design and his “incredible team that works to push the envelope every season and give people great value.’’
“I think it’s the fact that we are authentic.”
Asked what he means by authentic, Bedi responded, “I started this business because I wanted to prove to myself, to the world that we could do beautiful products and still stand for compassion.
“I don’t think it’s a destination – it’s a journey. We’re always working at it. It’s been a hell of a ride. It’s been fun.’’
Having trouble convincing friends and associates to be vegetarian?
Check out http://www.meat.org
Perhaps it can be used as a tool to show people where their meat is coming from. However, a note of warning, if you have a weak stomach or love Krishna's animals, you may not be able to watch all of it.
Posted on 21 November 2010. OMAHA, Neb. (Newsweak.com Exclusive) — Eighteen grade 5 students of Mavis Beacon Elementary School are undergoing counseling after a school field trip visit to a beef slaughterhouse. The children reportedly were horrified to see how cows were processed into beef. Some of the students vomited, and most cried.Their teacher, Maxwell Barnes, faces disciplinary action for organizing the school field trip. “I didn’t see anything wrong with it.” Barnes stated. “Earlier this year we had a field trip to a chocolate factory. Kids have a curiosity about where their food comes from. I don’t think there should be anything wrong with showing them where meat comes from.”The children were escorted through the facility from the loading bay, where cattle enter the building, through to the stunning process where the animals receive a pneumatic bolt to the brain, rendering them brain dead. “Some of the kids started crying then.” said slaughterhouse foreman Dan Smith. “We told them it was all a natural part of how beef is made and ends up in yummy hamburgers, but that didn’t seem to help much.”The field trip then went awry after the brain dead animals were chained up by their back legs and then cut into to be bled to death. “I saw one little boy throw up.” Smith said. “And then after that there was screaming and running and all these other kids throwing up all over the place. We tried to calm them down but it was out of control by then. These kids were just freaked out, they didn’t even finish the tour.”
Okay, for those of you who did not figure out NewsWEAK is a spoof or started laughing when reading the part I underlined above, then I need to spell it out...
This is a made up story!
However, the moral of the story is an important one. If people were to see where how their meat is made and identify with the dead body that they are putting into their mouth, then the slaughterhouses would close!