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Food is a joy.  For centuries it has been bringing people together to a communal table, allowing them to talk a while, share their stories, their emotions, their experiences and their lives.

It gives us an instant connection to our traditions and beliefs.  Most important it’s the way mothers in every country or tradition say “I love you”.

An appetite for food is much like an appetite for life.  Food changes our mood and can induce contentment well beyond the digestive tract.

It’s the modern equivalent of sharing the fire and exploring memories. Having a sense of belonging; a place in the world.

Food is an ‘essential’ that fuels our bodies yet there are an insane number of shortcuts made by food manufacturers around the world in the interests of their profitability.

In olive oil expert Tom Mueller’s book, ‘Extra Virginity’, he warns of contaminants and cancer-causing agents in fake olive oils, writing…. 

“Italian investigators have found hydrocarbon residues, pesticides, and other contaminants in fake oils, and pomace oil, a common adulterant, sometimes contains mineral oil as well as PAHs, proven carcinogens that can also damage DNA and the immune system.”

But there are aspects of food ‘fraud’ that we all need to be aware of; I’ll leave you to watch this and conduct your own tests afterwards….click here (3:55)…..and it hardly scratches the surface.

What’s In Your Wines?

Wine brings conviviality. The Italians have a saying “A day without wine is a day without sunshine.”  

Financial author Bill Bonner splits his time between the USA and Argentina where he has a cattle ranch and a unique vineyard high in the Andes. On the subject of wine quality he writes: “There’s a lot of cheating in that cheap wine from your local supermarket”:

• When they can’t afford oak barrels, winemakers use oak “flavouring” and other additives.

• When the wine isn’t dark enough, they add a dye called “Mega Purple” (more often than you think)

•  When the wine has any hint of sediment from the soil and air (which is a what makes wines unique – the goût de terroir, as the French say) they use “fining agents” like potassium ferrocyanide (yes “cyanide”)

 •  When there’s a hint of bad weather, they harvest the grapes while they’re still green… and cover it up by adding sugar!

 •  The grapes are often overwatered to artificially fatten them up  (more juice = more money)

 •  In mass market vineyards, machine harvesters aren’t precise enough to grab only grapes… so the resulting juice also contains bits of twigs, leaves, dirt and even insects.

•  When the aroma’s not “big” enough… they add enzymes.

You can see why the alcohol industry fights tooth and nail to avoid putting a list of ingredients on labels, spending as much as $30 million on lobbying in the USA alone last year.

It gets worse…

A study in France found traces of pesticides in 90% of wines sold in supermarkets there….and a lab test of 100 Californian wines found the toxic weed-killer glyphosate in every bottle. I can’t name the 100 wines but for safety’s sake I don’t drink wines from California. Period.

Commercial winemakers have stripped out the richness and the character of wine – everything that makes a bottle burst with life – and added a lot of stuff you don’t know about or want!

So next time you see a low-priced bottle in the supermarket, know what you’re buying.

Phylipa Dinnen

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