Wednesday, April 16, 2008

When in Glasgow.....

.... you should not miss to have a breakfast or an afternoon meal at The Willow Tearooms. Glasgow takes good care of its Charles Rennie Mackintosh heritage, and there are some of his buildings to pay a visit to. But arguably The Willow Tearooms place is the most charming one. Both the house and its interior design is by Mackintosh. And there are bonuses: it´s small and fast to fashion, and you may be seated and have something decent for your stomach at a reasonable price. You enter the place via the entrance to Henderson, the Jewellers.

I did so at a visit to Scotland in the end of March. You will find The Willow Tea Rooms at 217 Sauchihall Street, a major pedestrian street. For further information, visit this webpage.

Not many quarters away you will find Mackintosh´s Glasgow School of Art:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Transfetter och andra fetter i livsmedel

Transfetter är industriellt framställda delvis härdade fettsyror och emulsioner, som under senare år krupit in i diverse livsmedel. Efterhand framkommer den ena studien efter den andra som pekar på alvarliga hälsorisker. Oavsett hur farliga de slutligen kommer att visa sig vara, är transfetter onödiga. Det går utan problem att framställa mat dem förutan, liksom man länge tidigare gjort.

Danmark har trotsat EU och infört en restriktiv lag, och denna har också fått en positiv effekt i Sverige. På finns listor över svensktillverkade produkter med dess innehåll av farliga eller diskutabla fetter.

Men ökad integrering innebär att allt fler icke-transfettdeklarerade produkter säljs i svenska butiker. Därför är Ilija Batljans (Nynäshamns kommunstyrelses ordförande) nyligen startade namninsamling med krav på Europeiska Kommissionen att agera i frågan värt att stödja. Gå in på Nynäshamns kommuns hemsida och skriv under!

Som intresseorganisationen Sveriges Konsumenter påpekar finns det av allt att döma ett större generellt fettproblem i den industriellt processade maten än transfettproblemet, men det är ändå en god början för en medborgaraktion!

Change the EU law on trans fats in food!

The Swedish authorities as well as the European Commission are lax on the issue of trans fatty acids in food. Such industrially manufactured satuarated fatty acids, used in industrially produced alimentation products (cookies, potato chips, sweets etc) are highly suspects for causing serious heart problems. Little by little research is building up evidence against this artificial - and for food production unnecessary - satuarated fat, even though government authorites like the Swedish Food Administration deny the risk and take the position of the food industry rather than that of the consumers.

Why they do not act already on the present level of knowledge is difficult to understand. Humankind has lived for long time without trans fats, and even long since food was started to be produced industrially, and all this food can continue to be produced without problems with no trans fats. Such fats should be used for making shoe cream and the like, but that should be the end of it. There is no reason to wait until, as seems reasonable to believe today, it will be proved without any doubt that trans fats have killed some tens of thousands of Europeans (supposedly fewer Americans, as restrictions and food declaration demands on trans fats are more severe over there).

However, Swedes are comparatively lucky in this respect. Not because the Swedish Government is agile, but because the Danish Government has dared to obstruct the EU rules and has enforced a law demanding a ceiling on the amount of trans fats in food. This has had some effect on Swedish food producers and outlets as well. E.g. MacDonalds could not in the long run continue to have higher trans fats use in its Swedish restaurants than in its Danish ones across the Oresund straits, after the discrepancy had been exposed in media.

Personally I think one should go further. Why take a risk such as this one without any matching upstream benefit? I nyself boycott bakeries and chips and the like which do not declare it trans fat content, and rarely buy anything that has a level above 0 %. So Swedish biscuits are not for me, and there is no problem with that as long as you can buy e.g. Italian almond biscuits from Dolcezze Sapori (no trans fats, and as well no preservatives.

Anyway, the trans fat issue has to be solved more systematically by lobbying on the European level, as well against the individual national governments.

One week ago an European initiative was launched by a Swedish Mayor. He started a sign-in campaign with the aim is to raise one million signatures in order to make the European Union act against trans fats in foods.

There are two demands by the Ilija Batljan-initiated campaign:

1. As of June 1, 2009, Trans Fat must be listed on food labels, on a separate line immediately under the line for the declaration of saturated fatty acids.
2. As of June 1, 2009, the content of trans fatty acids in the oils and fats, including emulsions with fat as the continuous phase (including all C14 to C22 trans isomers but excluding naturally occurring content of trans fatty acids in animal fats), which, either alone or as part of processed foods, a re intended for human consumption or must be assumed to be intended for human consumption shall not exceed 2 grams per 100 grams of oil or fat.

So why not take the chance to visit the web page of the Town of Nynäshamn( and sign in? And in the mean time, before the governments and the EC bureaucracy have made up their minds, act where it hurts fastest for the greedy food manufacturers and stop buying risky food products!