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Restaurateur Caught Smuggling 38 Tons of Food

Restaurateur Caught Smuggling 38 Tons of Food


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Restaurateur decided taxes were for people who didn’t have smuggling ops

Wikimedia/2Old

Over the course of four years, a Swiss restaurateur smuggled 38 tons of supplies for his restaurant in the back of his car.

Acquiring ingredients and paying taxes are arduous duties for any restaurateur, but one man in Switzerland is in hot water for thinking he could get around them by just smuggling all his restaurant supplies across the border.

According to The Local, the suspect owns multiple restaurants and catering operations in Eastern Switzerland. Considering that food is generally more expensive in Switzerland than in Austria and other neighboring countries, a multi-unit operator stands to save a lot of money if he can just buy all his supplies on the other side of the border. So the man simply drove his car into Austria, loaded the trunk with ingredients and alcohol, and drove back to Switzerland without telling anybody. It worked so well, he kept doing it for four years.

He allegedly brought over a ton of raw meat products, three tons of butters and oils, three tons of fruits and vegetables, and nearly 1,800 pounds of milk and cheese. He also brought over copious amounts of alcohol.

Somehow the restaurateur managed to keep that scam going and supply his restaurants with ingredients for four years without getting caught, avoiding nearly $40,000 in import duties in the process.

Unfortunately for the restaurateur, that is wildly illegal. He was finally caught this summer, and now he faces criminal charges for smuggling 38 tons of food and alcohol across the border into Switzerland.


The Unhealthiest Restaurant Desserts

It's OK if you need an occasional cheat meal every once and a while. Sometimes, you just can't help it when your sweet tooth comes calling. If you decide to order dessert while you're dining out, that's totally fine—as long as you're splitting it with at least one other person. Trust us, once you get a glimpse of some of your favorite restaurants' biggest culprits, you won't want to eat one of these by yourself.

That's right—we rounded up the dessert options you shouldn't look twice at, ranked from bad to the absolute worst. They're packed with calories, sugar, fat, and sodium, most of which are actually dangerous for your health to be consuming regularly. Simply put, eating these desserts on top of your main course is just asking for trouble. Your waistline will thank you later! (And while you're making healthy changes, be sure to check out these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.)


Whipped Coffee

Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

It seems everyone in quarantine is about making this whipped coffee recipe, which is why we made it in three different flavors! To make the frothy coffee beverage, you whisk together equal parts instant coffee, sugar, and hot water until the texture of the mix becomes creamy—almost like whipped cream. You then serve it over hot or iced milk.

Get our recipe for Whipped Coffee.


All the Crazy Fish You Can Catch in Hawaii—and How to Cook Them

The assorted fish are spread out on the cutting board like a deck of cards.

Uhu, kumu, opakapaka, shutome, onaga and sashimi-grade, bigeye ahi…French chef George Mavrothalassitis , who goes by Mavro, calls each by their Hawaiian name, and prepares to demonstrate how to bring out the best in each.

“There are no bad fish,” he says. “Every variety is good if it’s fresh. The important thing is never to freeze it, and never to overcook it. The value is in its preparation.”

The consensus among the chefs I interview in Honolulu is that simplicity rules. The less done to the fish, the better the flavor. The fun starts in getting some fish of your own.

You can charter a sportfishing excursion and hook your own marlin, ono, or mahi mahi. Or, if your sea legs are as wobbly as mine, you can experience the Honolulu Fish Auction , one of the few fish auctions between New England and Tokyo (another is in Gloucester, Massachusetts).

It’s easy to get to: Drive toward Honolulu International airport, detour toward the warehouse district, and go to Pier 38. Moored at the docks, next to the cavernous building with sheet-metal sides, are fishing vessels that have just unloaded their catch. Their harvest includes varieties from huge, orange, saucer-headed opah (moonfish) and blunt-nosed mahi mahi, to 200-pound ahi and 300-pound marlin, which can net some serious change for fisherman.

Chances are you won’t be waltzing in to buy a 200-pound ahi for your backyard barbecue, but seeing the vast warehouse floor space filled with fresh fish is an education in itself.

Chef Mavro, holding a uhu (parrotfish). Photo: Deston Nokes

The process begins the night before when the boats dock and unload their catch overnight. By dawn, all the fish are inspected, weighed and labeled. Each fish has a notch taken from its flesh near the tail, giving bidders a preview of each fish’s quality. From the notch, the bidders can discern how firm the fish is and how much fat content is present, providing a gauge for how flavorful the flesh will be. They even evaluate whether the fish has any bruising from being handled improperly.

Just don’t make the same mistake I do—showing up in the wet, refrigerated room wearing a Tommy Bahama shirt, cargo shorts and boat shoes. Not only will you shiver, you’ll stand out among the fish brokers in rubber boots, hoodies, and jackets. When I walk in, the dozen or so brokers are hunched over the rows and rows of fish, bidding on each until the warehouse is empty.

Up to 50 tons of fish are auctioned each day. From there, the fish are loaded onto overnight flights to the U.S. mainland, Canada, Japan, and Europe. Others are processed into dressed fish and filets. Local purveyors snag a large portion of the catch, and take them to restaurants and markets on Oahu and neighboring islands.

Hawaiians eat three times as much fish as the rest of the United States ,” says Brooks Takenaka , Honolulu Fish Auction manager. “And we eat a lot of it raw, too.”

If you’re not fortunate enough to be in Hawaii, you can still profit from the following tried-and-true techniques for creating memorable seafood dishes using imported Hawaiian fish at your local market or other varieties. As the local Hawaiian chefs demonstrate, the simplest preparations can produce the fullest flavors.

Kumu (goatfish)

Goatfish is a prized delicacy in Hawaii, and can be caught near reefs and sand patches in depths from five to 100 meters. They are fairly common in Oahu’s famous snorkeling area, Hanauma Bay. Called “kumu” in Hawaii, they are bright pink and can grow to about 15 inches in length.

“Goatfish is the first recipe I ever prepared in Hawaii,” says Mavro, the proprietor and culinary force behind Honolulu’s Chef Mavro French restaurant, winner of a James Beard award . Mavro was raised in Marseilles but has lived in Hawaii for 26 years. He likes to serve his kumu en papillote.

He starts by scoring the goatfish and placing it on a bed of caramelized onion. Then he uses Hawaiian sea salt and puts it on top of parchment paper. Next, Mavro tops the fish with shiitake mushrooms, Thai basil, ogo nage broth, and white wine. He then folds over the paper to form a bag, adhering it with egg yolk. After some time in the skillet (which prompts the paper bag to puff up but not pop), Mavro finishes it in the oven. He cooks it a few more minutes, but only until the flesh is still a little pink near the bone. After that, it's dueling forks to separate the succulent meat from the bone, and even the tasty skin is eaten.

“The result is an incredibly flaky, juicy, and buttery fish, with a texture different than any other," Mavro says.

Monchong (sickle pomfret)

This firm, moderate-flavored fish has white flesh with pink tones. Sold at the Honolulu Fish Auction, its primary consumers are local restaurants and select U.S. mainland destinations. They are caught in deep waters, more than 900 feet. Monchong has fork-shaped fins and large scales, a high oil content, and long shelf life. Most fish sold are larger than 12 pounds.

For chef Matt Young , working at the Hula Grill at Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach is a pretty good gig, not just because it has the best view on one of the world’s most famous beaches, but because of the kitchen’s access to world-class seafood.

To prepare his special macadamia-nut-encrusted monchong, Young takes whole macadamia nuts and a small amount of oil, and processes them into a butter. Next, he folds in more chopped macadamia nuts, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and lemon. The monchong is then topped with the crust and baked. The macadamia-nut crust caramelizes, making the dish very fragrant. It is served with a blend of jasmine and wild rice, Aloun Farms haricot verts, and lemongrass beurre blanc.

Opakapaka (pink snapper)

Hawaiian servers speak in reverent tones when informing guests that fresh opakapaka is on the menu. Also known as the Hawaiian pink snapper, opakapaka’s delicate flavor is a favorite among islanders. The light-brown fish is found at depths between 180 and 600 feet and is harvested with hook-and-line gear. It can range from one to 18 pounds.

To prepare opakapaka Chinese style, Mavro first scores the fish skin, but not too deep. He then sprinkles a little soy sauce on top of it and places the fish on a bed of caramelized onions. Next, he places some shiitake mushrooms on top. He sprinkles white grapeseed oil over everything, and puts it in the steamer. Meanwhile, Mavro pulls out a skillet to crisp cilantro, green onion, and ginger with a sprinkle of olive oil, and then places the combination on top of the finished fish. The dish is served with a side of basmati rice.

“My twist at the end is to deconstruct the Chinese recipe, which calls for putting everything on top,” he says. “I want people to enjoy the simple crispness of the herbs and ginger.”

Bigeye ahi tuna

There are different varieties of ahi, from the prized bigeye and yellowfin, to albacore and skipjack. In Hawaii, the bigeye is the most valued, and is recognized by its plump body and larger head and eyes. Its meat has a reddish color and has a higher fat content than yellowfin, hence a richer flavor. Bigeye ahi can weigh 200 pounds and are caught by longline fishing boats.

At Nico’s Pier 38 , Lyon-born chef Nicolas Chaize’s philosophy is that the less done to the fish, the better—especially for a mild-flavored fish such as ahi: “Stay as simple as possible, don’t overcook it and let the fish have its own taste and texture. Just don’t mess too much with it.”

Nico’s seared bigeye ahi is his restaurant’s most popular dish. He rubs a filet with dry seaweed, sesame seeds, and furikake, and then gives it a very quick sear, leaving most of the fish raw.

Poke (pronounced "POH-keh"), the Hawaiian version of ceviche, is served raw and is extremely popular with locals and Asian visitors, and ahi is a favorite main ingredient. Again, the preparation couldn’t be more simple: After cutting the ahi into cubes, Mavro adds ogo (a seaweed harvested on Molokai), sesame oil, green onion, olive oil, and a bit of Hawaiian chile pepper with the seeds and membrane removed. Mix it up in a bowl and voila! Perfect poke with a nice bite.

Uhu (parrotfish)

Anyone who’s ever snorkeled Hawaii’s waters will recall seeing parrotfish among the coral, which appear to be rainbow-colored, tie-dyed relics from Jerry Garcia’s tribe. True to their name, they have mouths resembling parrot beaks. They're usually under 12 inches and 12 pounds.

Instead of the colorful male, it’s the reddish-brown female that has all the flavor. Mavro bakes them in their skin with just a little bit of Hawaiian salt and olive oil—just like a salmon in the oven.

“The fish stays moist so you can just slide the meat off the bone,” Mavro says. “If the flesh is a little pink at the bone, it's fine, otherwise it’s overcooked. The best way to eat uhu is with olive oil, lemon and salt…no pepper. It’s cheap too.”

Nairagi (striped marlin)

Nairagi has a slender bill and stripes on its sides. Regarded as the most popular of all marlin species for eating, its firm, mild-flavored flesh varies from light pink to orange-red, the latter most favored for sashimi. They generally vary in size from 40 to 100 pounds, but can be as large as 130 pounds. Hawaii’s nairagi are caught by longline boats, but some are captured closer to shore by trolling boats.

For his striped-marlin carpaccio, Chaize slices a bright-orange filet thin and arranges it on a plate. Next, he dresses the fish with Maui onion, capers, olive oil, lime, Hawaiian salt, and organic greens to make a light, tasty carpaccio. It’s a simple and elegant appetizer.

Hawaiian butterfish (black cod)

Butterfish is actually a sablefish rather than a cod, with black skin and high oil content. The average size is two feet in length, 10 pounds in weight. It is exceptionally popular in Japan and Hawaii, with a very rich taste and medium texture.

To make traditional Hawaiian lau laus, the Highway Inn ’s chef Mike Kealoha takes salted butterfish and pork and wraps them together in taro leaves. Then they are steamed for several hours. “The butterfish rounds out the flavor and the pork fat makes the taro nice and soft,” he says.

Kealoha is well grounded in traditional Hawaiian cooking. He was raised on Kualoha ranch near Mokoliʻi, also known as Chinaman’s Hat, on Oahu’s eastern shore. He credits his 100-percent native-Hawaiian mother and extended family with teaching him to appreciate the wealth of ingredients around him on Hawaii. “We hunted wild boar, we fished, and my uncle worked on a fishing boat,” he says.

Opah (moonfish)

Entering the Honolulu Fish Auction, your gaze tends immediately to go to the pallets of opah, stacked like monstrous, bright-orange Frisbees with huge eyes. According to Chaize, only about a third of the fish is usable. The rest is all head. Opah range in size from 60 to more than 200 pounds, and are caught by longlining. This rich, flaky, white fish is always popular in Hawaii’s restaurants.

At Hula Grill on Waikiki, Young makes his glazed opah with a North African-inspired glaze consisting of chile peppers, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cilantro, and lemon. It is served with a cucumber raita and a spiced white-bean salad. The crust on the fish helps maintain its natural moisture, and the smoky and citrusy notes of the crust work well with opah’s slightly fatty and bold flavor.

Opah—the frisbee of fish. Photo: Deston Nokes

Hogo (scorpionfish)

The hogo has a face only a mother could love. Homely to a fault, this rockfish lurks at depths of 20 feet or more and camouflages itself near reefs. It can grow to 20 inches or more and weigh up to five pounds. Local fishermen capture it with a spear or a pole and line.

Chef Andrew Le loves using smaller fish and leftovers at his very popular, family-run restaurant, The Pig and the Lady . He finds creative pleasure in surprising guests with tantalizing tastes from unexpected sources.

“Fish filets are awesome, but they’re predictable,” he says. “I often use byproducts and throwaways that I use in making stock, such as the fish’s head and collar, and I’ll grill ahi ribs and deep-fry the fins. Whatever we find goes on the menu that day.”

That goes for his hogo-head braise.

“It’s an ugly fish,” Le says, laughing. “The uglier the better. The flesh is firm, chewy and incredibly lean. The head is really bony. It’s big with lots of cartilage, which gets gelatinous when braised and gives it a nice body.”

He prepares it by slow cooking it with tomatoes, charred vegetables, anchovies, thyme, and chicken fat. It’s served with fennel and garlic toast.

Awa (milkfish)

Also called the “table boss,” awa is a rare hogfish that can grow in lengths of more than three feet and weigh 40 pounds or more. They are caught by pole and line, nets, or spear near the shore, or in bays and inlets.

Le says awa is generally steamed or deep-fried. Le prepares it Vietnamese style with a house fish sauce, vinaigrette, pickles, smashed chile peppers, herbs, jasmine rice, and sweet-and-sour tamarind soup.


FOOD HISTORY TIMELINE1976 to 1980

1976 There are no red M&Ms from 1976 to 1987.

1976 The U.S. Department of Labor upgraded the definition of 'Chef' from 'domestic' to 'professional.'

1976 The popular food coloring, Red Dye No. 2, was banned by the FDA because studies had shown it might cause cancer. Red M&Ms disappeared for 11 years because of the ban.

1976 Iceland broke off diplomatic relations with Great Britain when the two couldn't settle their disagreement on the 'cod war' fishing dispute.

1976 Carl Peter Henrik Dam Died. Dam was a Danish biochemist who discovered vitamin K in 1939.

1976 'The Taste of Southern Cooking' by Edna Lewis was published.

1976 Jimmy Buffet's 'Margaritaville' was released.

1976 The musical 'Bubbling Brown Sugar' opened on Broadway.

1976 'Spice Girls' singer Emma Bunton was born today.

1976 Crystalline sugar produced from sweet sorghum.

1976 The $2 bill is reintroduced by the U.S. Treasury.

1976 In Paris, two California wines won top honors at a blind wine tasting by the best of France's wine experts. The French were shocked, and the wine world was changed forever.

1976 Great-Britain & Iceland terminate their codfish war.

1976 'Play That Funky Music' by Wild Cherry hit #1 on the charts

1976 The largest dolphin caught with rod and reel weighed 87 pounds. It was caught off the coast of Costa Rica.

1976 'Hotel California' was released by The Eagles. One of the best selling albums of all time. (An album is what we had before CDs).

1976 On the 'Barney Miller' TV show, Wojo's hippie girlfriend baked a batch of special brownies for the precinct.

1976 Water rationing went into effect in Marin County, north of San Francisco.

1976 The U.S. and Russia both extend their fishing rights to 200 miles offshore.

1976 Pierrier water was introduced in the U.S.

1976 To settle a sex discrimination lawsuit, New York's "21" Club hired its first waitress.

1976 The supersonic Concorde commercial aircraft built with funding from the French and British governments, began regular service today.

1977 Toots Shor died January 23 (born May 6, 1903). American restaurateur, Toots Shor's Restaurant was a gathering place for New York celebrities during the 1940s and 1950's.

1977 Apple Computer incorporates.

1977 The heaviest lobster known was caught off Nova Scotia, weighing in at 44 lb 6 oz (20.14 kg).

1977 Alice Cooper's pet boa constrictor died after its dinner of a rat bit it first.

1977 The Apple II computer went on sale priced at $1298

1977 The trans-Alaska oil pipeline opened. It takes oil 38 days to travel 800 miles from the fields in Prudhoe Bay to the port of Valdez.

1977 A power blackout hit New York. Power was out for about 25 hours. There was widespread looting, unlike the calm of the 1965 blackout.

1977 On July 28 at 11:02 p.m. the first oil from Prudhoe Bay arrived at Valdez in the trans-Alaskan pipeline. It took 38 days to travel the 800 miles.

1977 Buffalo, New York declared this day 'Chicken Wing Day' in honor of the famous Buffalo Chicken Wings, created by Teressa Bellissimo in October, 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, for her son and some friends for a midnight snack.

1977 Fiona Apple, singer, songwriter was born.

1977 The Guinness Book of World Records notes that Peter Dowdeswell managed to consume 40 sandwiches in 17 minutes, 53.9 seconds at a California donut shop on October 17, 1977. Each sandwich was 6 X 3 inches, spread with jam and butter.

1977 Meat Loaf (Marvin Lee Aday) 2nd album 'Bat Out of Hell' was released.

1977 The largest albacore weighed 88 pounds and was caught off the Canary Islands.

1977 Ruth Graves Wakefield died. Inventor of the Toll House Cookie, the first chocolate chip cookie, at the Toll House Inn neart Whitman, Massachusetts in the 1930s.

1977 'Bubbling Brown Sugar' closed at the ANTA Playhouse in NYC after 766 performances.

1977 Frustrated by an unsuccessful attempt to obtain funding for a water project, Kinney, Minnesota 'secedes' from the United States and applies for foreign aid. In support, Duluth's frozen pizza king Gino Palucci donates 10 cases of frozen pizza.

1978 Helen Corbitt died. American chef and cookbook author. Texas Monthly declared Corbitt to be the 'Tastemaker of the Century.'

1978 France ended price controls on bread.

1978 Charles Best died. Co-discoverer in 1921 (with Dr. F. Banting) of the hormone insulin, used to treat diabetes.

1978 President Jimmy Carter signed a bill legalizing home brewing on Oct 14. However states could still set there own limits.

1978 The U.S. Commerce Department announced that hurricane names would no longer be exclusively female. Both male and female names would now be used.

1978 Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream and Crepes opened in a former gas station in Vermont.

1978 Sweden banned aerosol cans.

1978 The Humane Slaughter Act of 1978 dictates strict animal handling and slaughter practices which are closely monitored by government inspectors.

1978 Reese's Pieces peanut butter candy was introduced, an extension of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup line.

1978 'Cheeseburger In Paradise' by Jimmy Buffett peaks at #32 on the charts.

1978 Garfield, the lasagna eating cat was born. He was brought into this world by cartoonist Jim Davis.

1978 Frankie Valli's 'Grease' reached number 1 on the charts.

1978 'Boogie Oogie Oogie' by Taste Of Honey is #1 on the charts

1978 The largest squid ever caught was taken in Thimble Tickle Bay, Newfoundland. It was 55 feet long and weighed two tons.

1978 The 'Amoco Cadiz' oil tanker ran aground on Portsall Rocks, 3 miles off the Coast of Brittany, France. It split in two and spilled its entire cargo of 220,000 tons of crude oil. This was the largest oil spill by a grounded tanker to date.

1978 Sir Edward Salisbury died (born April 16, 1886). English botanist and ecologist. Director of Royal Botanical Gardens (1943-1956). His books include 'The Living Garden' (1935), 'The Biology of Garden Weeds' (1962).

1978 Joseph Delteil died (born April 20, 1894). French writer and poet. Also wrote 'La Cuisine palolithique' (1964) featuring cuisine naturelle using unprocessed foods.

1979 Sardines return to California waters after an absence of about 40 years.

1979 The number of horses working on British farms falls to 3,575, down from 300,000 in 1950.

1979
Sardines return to California waters after an absence of about 40 years.

1979 The number of horses working on British farms falls to 3,575, down from 300,000 in 1950.

1979 The 12th & final episode of 'Fawlty Towers' was broadcast.

1979 Pillsbury acquires the Green Giant Company.

1979 McDonald's introduced the Happy Meal for kids.

1979 Paul Prudhomme opened K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. Louisiana born chef and restaurateur, he owned his first restaurant at the age of 17. He has also written several best selling cookbooks.

1979 The first Zagat restaurant survey was published.

1979 Conrad Nicholson Hilton died. Founder of one of the most well known and largest hotel chains. It all began when he and his father turned their large New Mexico house into an inn for traveling salesmen.

1979 The movie 'Meatballs' starring Bill Murray premeired today.

1979
Singer and actress Brandy was born (Brandy Norwood).

1979 ‘Mr. Ed’ , the talking horse, died. This was not the horse who actually starred on the TV show, but another horse who did publicity work as Mr. Ed. The original Mr. Ed (Bamboo Harvester) died in 1970.

1979 'Reunited' by Peaches & Herb hit #1 on the charts

1979 General Mills introduced 'Honey Nut Cheerioes'.

1979 President Jimmy Carter was attacked by a rabbit while on a canoe trip in Georgia. He beat it away with a paddle. (Man eating, swimming rabbits?)

1979 American actress Rachael Leigh Cook was born. She began working as a model at age 10, and her picture is still used on boxes of Milk-Bone Dog Biscuits.

1979 'Sugar Babies' opened on Broadway.

1979 The largest bluefin tuna weighed 1,496 pounds. It was caught in Nova Scotia.

1979 There are about 6,000 KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) restaurants, and they sell 2.7 billion pieces of chicken.

1979 Average commercial fertilizer use on U.S. farms during the 1970s was about 43.6 million tons per year.

1979 U.S. agricultural exports were about $19.8 billion a year during the 1970s (19% of total exports).

1980 The New England Culinary Institute was founded.

1980 Herman Tarnower died. American physician and author of the bestselling 'The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet' (1979). He was shot to death by Jean Harris.

1980 The play 'Lunch Hour' opened on Broadway.

1980 Bill and his wife T.J. Palmer opened the first Applebee's restaurant, T.J. Applebee’s Rx for Edibles & Elixirs, in Atlanta, Georgia on Nov 19.

1980 28,000 Canada geese spend a few nights on Silver Lake in Rochester, Minnesota.

1980 Joy Adamson died. Naturalist and author of 'Born Free' about Elsa, a lion cub. She had also researched culinary and medicinal uses of various plants in Kenya.

1980 "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes is #1 on the charts.

1980 Due to record high sugar prices, Coca Cola begins substituting high fructose corn syrup for half of the sucrose (sugar) used in Coca Cola.

1980 McDonald's test marketed Chicken McNuggets in Knoxville, Tennessee. They are so popular that they have to look for a second supplier.

1980 Cook's magazine begins publication. Christopher Kimball is the publisher.

1980 Lactase enzymes evaluated provided basis for lactose-reduced dairy products.

1980 Victor Sen Yung died (born Oct 18, 1915). American character actor, he played the cook Hop Sing on the TV show 'Bonanza'. He also played Charlie Chan's son, Jimmy Chan in numerous Charlie Chan movies.

1980 Earle McAusland, publisher/editor of Gourmet magazine died at age 89.

1980 The California Supreme Court rules that Ted Giannoulas can appear in public in his San Diego Chicken suit as long as it does not have the call letters of the radio station (KGB) that first used it as a promotional gambit.

1980 The oldest known goldfish in Great Britain, Frederica, died at the age of 40.

1980 European Community countries banned the use of hormones in cattle feed.

1980 Harland Sanders died at Shelbyville, Kentucky. Founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant chain.

1980 The population of the U.S. is now 226,545,805. Farmers are 3.4% of the labor force. There are about 2,439,500 farms, averaging about 426 acres.

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Column: You waste more than $1,000 of food a year. Chew on that

Don’t have enough to keep you up at night? Try this on for size.

The world wastes more than 1 billion tons of food every year, according to a new report from the United Nations.

That’s 17% of total food available to consumers as of 2019 — enough food, if packed into millions of trucks, to circle the Earth seven times.

Not only is this a shameful statistic in light of the more than 690 million people worldwide who go hungry each year, but it’s yet another way that we’re needlessly wrecking the planet.

By one estimate, if food waste was a country, it would represent the greatest volume of greenhouse gas emissions after the output of the two leading producers, the United States and China.

Moreover, the advocacy group Move for Hunger estimates it takes enough water to fill Lake Geneva three times to produce all the food that goes uneaten.

Throwing out a couple of pounds of beef is basically like wasting the more than 13,000 gallons of water required to produce that meat, the group says.

“Food waste touches on so many aspects of our lives,” said Zach Conrad, an assistant professor of health sciences at William & Mary college. “When we’re wasting food, we’re wasting resources.”

He told me his own research shows that the typical American adult wastes about $3.50 worth of food every day.

Think about that. Every single day, you and nearly everyone you know basically throws $3.50 into the garbage.

“When you look at it like that,” Conrad said, “it really hits home.”

The U.N. report notes that while restaurants and retail establishments contribute to global food waste, the majority (61%) occurs at the household level. More than 628 million tons of food are thrown out by consumers worldwide each year.

The United States has a particularly miserable track record in this regard. As much as 40% of the nation’s food supply ends up in the trash, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

“Wasted food is the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills and represents nourishment that could have helped feed families in need,” the FDA says.

I shared the new U.N. report with a number of experts. Each expressed no surprise at the severity of the problem.

They also agreed that solutions aren’t easy to come by.

“The consumer isn’t presented a bill every time they throw some food away, making it more difficult for consumers to link actions to personal monetary losses,” noted Brian Roe, a professor of agricultural, environmental and development economics at Ohio State University.

I’ve written in the past about the problem of food being thrown out by restaurants, hotels and caterers. California’s Integrated Waste Management Board estimates about 1.5 million tons of food is thrown out each year by these businesses.

But it wasn’t until I read the U.N. report that I understood the scope of food waste by ordinary households — and the challenge of doing something about the problem.

“Previous estimates of consumer food waste significantly underestimated its scale,” the report observed. It said food waste at the consumer level appears to be double previous estimates.

Edward Jaenicke, a professor of agricultural economics at Penn State, told me his research concluded that the average U.S. household tosses more than $1,800 worth of food into the trash each year — a figure not far off from Conrad’s $3.50-a-day estimate, which translates to nearly $1,300 annually.

“If the goal is environmental, and mitigating climate change, then perhaps the best solution does not just involve getting people to waste less, but rather to make sure that the waste they generate ends up not in a landfill but as compost,” Jaenicke said.

That’s ideal. My wife and I have a compost bin in the backyard. Yes, it’s kind of nasty. But it’s also been great for all the vegetables we’ve grown since the start of the pandemic.

The trick is incentivizing more Americans to compost their food waste — a goal that’s easier said than done in light of the yuck factor. Perhaps a tax break could be offered to households that do it.

I’m not sure how you’d verify that, though. Photos? Snap inspections? Submitting homegrown veggies to the Internal Revenue Service?

The more meaningful step, all experts agree, is raising awareness among people about how much food goes to waste and, hopefully, promoting more responsible behavior.

Standardizing expiration dates would help. Many people don’t know what to make of “best by” and “sell by” dates on packages. So they err on the side of caution and chuck out anything of questionable freshness.

Think how many times you’ve checked a carton of milk or wedge of cheese in your fridge and saw that it had passed the date on the package.

The FDA has called for employing the phrase “best if used by” on all packaging. However, Congress hasn’t bothered to act on that sensible recommendation.

Businesses have an important role to play. Supermarkets should feature signs informing people about how much food gets discarded and how much this costs consumers.

Reminders should be posted throughout the store that you’ll save money over the long run by not buying more groceries than you need.

How about we also follow the example of cigarettes? Packs of smokes are required by law to include warnings about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption.

I propose requiring food companies to include an eye-catching public service announcement on packages reminding people of the problem of food waste.

I don’t know about you, but I’d take notice if a box of Wheat Thins, say, pointed out that wasted food represents $3.50 a day down the drain.

“Think of the food supply chain as a leaky hose,” said Marie Spiker, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington. “The more we can patch up the holes, the less we lose along the way.”

The FDA has set a goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030. The agency advises planning a week’s worth of meals in advance so you don’t purchase too many groceries. It also suggests:

  • Checking the fridge and pantry before a supermarket run to see what’s on hand. Many people forget and buy more of existing items.
  • Learn how to best store fruits and vegetables to prolong freshness. Also, remember produce that’s past its prime can still be used for cooking.
  • Create a designated space in the refrigerator for food that will go bad soon, so it can be consumed in a timely manner.
  • At restaurants, order only what you can eat or request smaller portions. Make a point of taking home any leftovers.

“Get creative,” advised Carmen Byker Shanks, an associate professor of nutrition and food security at Montana State University.

“Incorporate unused items into soups, sauces or smoothies. If you have unwanted food in your house, share with friends or donate to food banks.”

Food waste, she said, “is one of the most urgent issues of our time.”

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David Lazarus is an award-winning business columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He also appears daily on KTLA Channel 5. His work runs in newspapers across the country and has resulted in a variety of laws protecting consumers.


FBI paid deputy to smuggle cellphone in jail sting

FBI agents probing misconduct allegations in the L.A. County Jail orchestrated an undercover sting in which they paid about $1,500 to a sheriff’s deputy to smuggle a cellphone to an inmate, sources said.

The revelation is the first public indication that the FBI’s investigations into allegations of inmate beatings and other deputy misconduct in the jails have uncovered possible criminal wrongdoing.

The FBI conducted the cellphone sting without notifying top Sheriff’s Department brass, enraging Sheriff Lee Baca and causing a rift between the two law enforcement agencies.

Baca, who is scheduled to meet Tuesday with U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte Jr. to discuss the escalating tensions, went on television Monday to slam the FBI, saying smuggling a cellphone inside a secured lockup created a serious safety breach. Baca suggested that the FBI committed a crime by doing so.

“It’s illegal,” he said. “It’s a misdemeanor and then there’s a conspiracy law that goes along with it.”

Baca has not responded to repeated interview requests from The Times to discuss the federal inquiries into his jails, the nation’s largest. When asked about the deputy accused of smuggling the cellphone into the jail, Baca’s spokesman Steve Whitmore would only say: “We’re going to go wherever this investigation takes us.”

The Times reported Sunday that federal authorities are investigating inmate beatings and other misconduct by deputies in the jails. The allegations include deputies breaking one inmate’s jaw and beating another inmate for two minutes while he was unconscious.

In addition to the investigations surrounding the jails, federal authorities have two other inquiries involving the Sheriff’s Department. Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division announced a broad “pattern and practice” investigation into allegations that deputies in the Antelope Valley discriminated against minority residents who receive government housing assistance. Also last month, The Times reported that a Sheriff’s Department captain had been put on leave after federal agents suspected hearing her voice on a wiretap of a suspected Compton drug ring.

Sources said Monday that the deputy allegedly caught in the sting accepted the money to smuggle the cellphone to the inmate, who was locked up at the Men’s Central Jail. Unbeknownst to the deputy, the inmate was working as an informant for the FBI, sources said.

The deputy, Gilbert Michel, 38, resigned shortly after sheriff’s officials put him on leave, , sources said. A source said the deputy, who has not been charged with a crime, is now the subject of a Sheriff’s Department criminal investigation. Michel could not be reached for comment.

Federal officials have declined to comment on their investigations and the Sheriff Department’s criticisms of their undercover operation.

Baca, however, spoke out Monday on KTTV-TV Channel 11’s “Good Day L.A.”, defending his department’s record in the jails and blasting the FBI. He suggested that the federal inquiry was unnecessary because all allegations of abuse within the jails are thoroughly investigated internally, and vetted by the department’s watchdog.

“We police ourselves,” he said.

The sheriff also questioned whether the FBI had the know-how to investigate his jails. “What kind of experience do you have in dealing with all this? And to what extent do you know the policies, the procedures and even the law?” Baca asked of the FBI.

He also criticized the FBI’s use of an inmate informant, identifying him as a man facing 400 years in prison for armed robbery. “Jailhouse informants quite frankly are problematic,” the sheriff said.

It’s unclear how Baca’s public critique of the FBI will affect the relationship between the two agencies, and more important, the many task forces, including one focusing on terrorism, in which the agencies serve together.

After his criticism of the FBI investigation, Baca went on to promote an upcoming charity run, mentioning that the Sheriff’s Department and the FBI would be in attendance.

“Will they be running from you or with you?” asked one reporter.

“Probably do a little of both,” Baca responded.

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Leverage

The battle over Yusuf’s freedom before trial has led to heated accusations against the prosecutor by his attorneys, Peele and Luis Reyes, both former Justice Department lawyers who work for the Ashcroft law firm in Austin.

In his multiple attempts to have his client released, Peele said the government had been “heavy-handed” in its attempt to pressure his client to plead guilty — such as arresting him at his work and having him locked up while awaiting trial.

“The government admits that keeping Mr. Yusuf in detention is about coercing a guilty plea,” Peele said in a filing. “Indeed, the government has continued with that improper pressure campaign by indicting his wife when he would not plead guilty.”

Peele, a former federal prosecutor, said a team of officers in tactical gear with assault rifles kicked in the front door of the family’s home in June to arrest Yusuf’s wife, a “middle-aged housewife.”

She wasn’t home at the time, but agents pointed guns at the couple’s two teenage children who were being cared for by a relative, Peele wrote. “The thirteen-year-old girl was marched through the house with a gun pointed at her back, and the fifteen-year old was awakened in his bed when one of the multiple men pointing rifles at his face as he slept yelled ‘Get up m---!’”

In a letter to the prosecutor, Peele wrote that “choosing to raid the house instead of just sending a summons to her is unacceptable.” He added that “these tactics cross the lines of proper conduct in the course of a prosecution.”

Rattan said in court filings that the team that executed the warrant “did so lawfully and they treated the occupants of the house appropriately.” And she encouraged Yusuf to cooperate.

“If it were determined at the time of his plea hearing that there were ‘exceptional circumstances,’ we may be able to agree to release him under the conditions you suggest,” she wrote. “Further, we would want to evaluate his cooperation in considering Ms. Kebir’s case — something we would, of course, discuss with her attorney.”

Peele said Rattan’s email offer “lays bare the cynical approach the prosecution has taken” toward his client. And he noted that the government did not move to detain some of the other defendants in the case. He called the offer an “improper quid pro quo.”

“In the United States, incarcerating a citizen without an adjudication of guilt for the sole purpose of coercing his guilty plea shocks the conscience,” Peele wrote. “This tactic is antithetical to our system of justice.”

But the judge rejected Yusuf’s effort to be released, saying he made an independent determination from the evidence presented.


Baked Salmon Steaks With Sour Cream and Dill

Salmon is America's favorite fish, making it a great choice for Sunday dinner. This recipe calls for baking steaks or fillets in a sour cream and dill sauce accented by zesty lemon. Serve with oven-roasted potatoes and steamed green beans or broccoli.


Watch the video: Θρασύτατος αστυνομικός ειρωνεύεται γυναίκα που φωνάζει ένα αεροπλάνο, καιγόμαστε


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