Monday, May 31, 2010

Organic food has no extra health benefits, say researchers

From Friday's Daily Mail (UK)


Damning verdict: Organic food has no health, taste or nutritional advantages over conventionally manufactured or harvested food, according to a new study

By Allan Hall

Last updated at 10:08 AM on 28th May 2010

Organic food has no health, taste or nutritional advantages over conventionally manufactured or harvested food.

That is the damning verdict of a study by Berlin based consumer watchdog group Stiftung Warentest.

The results, from one of the most respected consumer groups in Europe - backed and funded by the German government but totally independent - is a massive embarrassment for the organic food industry.

Damning verdict: Organic food has no health, taste or nutritional advantages over conventionally manufactured or harvested food, according to a new study

It said it carried out 85 investigations over eight years to come up with an overall assessment on bio food.

The foundation said that organic products were 'not necessarily healthier, or even better-tasting, than regular groceries.
'Despite being on average 30 percent more expensive, there was little overall difference in quality.'

Of 13 organic baby food products tested, they all rated only in the 'satisfactory' range.

The reason was that they actually contained too little fat and often too little iron for babies’ nutritional needs.

Some 45 percent of ecological products got a 'good' or 'very good' nutritional rating, compared with 41 percent for conventional foods.

Some 15 percent of organic foods were rated 'poor' – slightly higher than the 14 percent of regular products given such a score.

There was considerable variation among products, with organic performing well in some areas but poorly in others. Organic rape seed oil did not score well.

Only on the pesticide front did the bio products come out far ahead - some 75 percent were completely pesticide free compared with just 16 percent of conventional groceries.
The Soil Association dismissed the German research as 'irrelevant'

It emerged that the German consumer group only surveyed the nutrient content of processed and packet foods, rather that raw produce and meat.
Consequently, the association said it would be unable to provide a definitive picture of the quality of organic food.

Read more:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

When Bad Jews worship the Jelly Tot Rebbe

A story….

About a year ago, BBDC* (see key below), I was chatting to a friend of mine.

Jelly Tots BBDC came up in the conversation.

Regarding Jelly Tots BBDC, she said:

“I’m a bad Jew. I give my kids Jelly Tots BBDC”

And my blood boiled

Jew’s calling themselves ‘Bad Jews’

This, from a woman who is a nurturing mother

A dedicated wife

A loving and respectful daughter

This, from a woman who is kind, caring and does charity work.

A woman who always helps and gives assistance to people.

Note my word. ‘GIVES’.

She NEVER offers.


She just goes ahead and does.

Why would such a woman, who represents so many of the Godly attributes Jews should aspire to, call herself a ‘Bad Jew’?

Why would such a woman, who our Mother Sarah would be proud of, regard herself as being a ‘sinner’?

Oh ja, she told me why:

Because she gives her children Jelly Tots BBDC!

Excuse me.

What did I just write?

Where on earth would Jews get the idea that eating Jelly Tots BBDC makes them a “Bad Jew”? What a ridiculous concept. How can someone regard themselves as ‘bad’. As ‘sinners’

Where would such un-Godly thoughts and concepts come from?

Oh, I know where these ‘Bad Jews’ get these alien concepts from…..

They get them from ‘Frum’ Jews

Frum Jews who place the importance of Kosher Certification, a hechsher, over all other Godly pursuits

Another story….

On Shavuot (last week), we had lunch at some friends of ours. A friend of theirs arrived for lunch. Over the past several years, their friend has been getting more involved in Judaism.

Jelly Tots came up in conversation, which included the fact that Jelly Tots are now Beth Din Certified. We discussed the fact that the ‘frum’ Jewish community was abuzz with excitement when the news broke ….

… that Jelly Tots were “Kosher”.

When stock first arrived on the shelves, the ‘Good Jews’ who were lucky to be at the stores suffered minor injuries, attacking one another to get a piece of the Jelly Tot BDK# (see key below) action

This friend of theirs could not believe that ‘frum’ Jews were so concerned about Jelly Tots BDK. She could not believe that ‘frum’ Jews got so excited about the Beth Din certification. She could not believe that ‘frum’ Jews fought each other to get their hands on the newly launched product.

She wondered why ‘frum’ Jews didn’t spend that time helping poor people, or doing other Godly work? Why would ‘frum’ Jews, ‘Godly’ Jews spend more time discussing Jelly Tots BBDC and Jelly Tots BDK than having more meaningful discussions

What leads Godly Jews to refer to themselves at ‘Bad Jews’? What leads ‘frum’ Jews to focus their Jewish pursuits on the hechsher of an already Kosher product?

Jelly Tots have always been Kosher. Yes, there are opinions who would disagree, but there are many opinions that would wholeheartedly agree that Jelly Tots BBDC* were Kosher. I am not talking about the opinions of my mate Rob’s Rebbe (his Rebbe is his pet dog). I am talking about opinions of well respected rabbinic minds and halachists.

If you think that only the most ‘left’, ‘liberal’, ‘reform’ of Rabbis would say Jelly Tots BBDC* were Kosher, you are wrong.

Yes, there are opinions that say Jelly Tots BBDC* were not kosher, but many more would call Jelly Tots BBDC Kosher.

Kosher according to halacha.

Kosher according to Torah

Perhaps you are a ‘frum’ Jew, like me, who thinks that only ‘lenient’ opinions would have allowed Jelly Tots BBDC

If that’s what you are thinking, let’s look at it from the other extreme (word chosen intentionally)

Let’s look it from another perspective (word chosen for those who took offense to previous word).

Let’s see if we should rely on hechshers to determine our ‘frumkeit’, our Godliness.

Let’s use the largest Glatt Kosher slaughterhouse in America.

Yep, Glatt Kosher.

For those that don’t know, in simple terms (after all, I am simple)Glatt Kosher is Very kosher. Extra Kosher

The cows wear sheitels.

Anyways, over the past few years, there have been a few ‘issues’ at this Glatt Kosher facility. The issues include the hiring of illegal and underage workers, the treatment of staff, the treatment of the animals and, the one all ‘Good Jews’ care about, the Kosher methods by which the animals are slaughtered/shechted.

Once the largest Glatt Kosher slaughterhouse began appearing in the press, various leading Rabbis , primarily in the United States and Israel, started to assess the methods by which the animals were being killed (by the way, when determining whether the meat was Kosher, the way the staff and animals were treated were not of concern to these ‘leading’ Rabbis – but that pathetic Rabbinic behavior is an aside)

Turns out, there was a split of opinions. There were rabbis who called the meat ‘treif’. There were rabbis who labeled the meat not-kosher. And there were rabbis who said the meat was perfectly Kosher.

Now, here is a Glatt Kosher slaughterhouse, with many rabbis who claimed the meat was treif and/or not-kosher. Other Rabbis said it was indeed Kosher.

Some Rabbis would agree to Kosher certification(i.e. a hechsher). Other Rabbis would not.

So, if the Kosher certification of certain kashrut agencies hechsher did not appear on the meat, would the ‘frum’ people eating that meat suddenly stop consuming?

No, they would not

But why?

Because the consumers of this Glatt Kosher meat did not care if Rabbi X or organization Y gave the meat hechsher or not. People who ate, and continue to eat the meat, KNOW, that according to their opinions, and their Rabbinic leaders, the meat is Kosher.

They did not care if other’s disagreed.

There was enough halachic support to show that the meat was, and is, indeed Kosher

In this Glatt Kosher case, was it ‘liberal’, ‘lefty’, ‘reform’ Rabbis who agreed (or were of the opinion) that the Glatt Kosher meat was Kosher?

Certainly not

Some leading Rabbis said the meat was treif and/or not-kosher and some leading Rabbis said…

“Ez Gezunt”

It’s not the certification that determined the Kashrut of the meat. It was the halacha, and the opinions of Rabbis that people choose to follow

Some leading Rabbis and organisations refuse to Kosher certify this particular Glatt Kosher meat. They regard this Glatt Kosher meat at treif and/or not-Kosher.

Does that mean it is not-Kosher or/and treif?

Some leading Rabbis regard Jelly Tots BBDC as Kosher.

Does that mean it is?

Well… is the beauty - and complexity - of Judaism…..

The answer to both those questions is:

Yes, depending on who you follow

Here’s the dilemma for us ‘frum’ Jews:

We now use the term “Kosher” when we should be using the words “Kosher Certified”

• Have we become ’frum’ Jews who have placed Kosher certification above Torah and God?

• Have we reduced our Judaism to rebuking Jews incorrectly and inappropriately?

• Have we turned our Judaism into an ‘us’ and ‘them’, labeling Jews as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ over the eating of flippin’ Jelly Tots?

How many of us ‘frum’ Jews would:

Say to another Jew, “Don’t eat that, it’s not Kosher”


Say to another parent: “Don’t give that to your kids, it’s not Kosher”


Freak out when you see your kids dig into a marshmellow Easter Egg

(aahh, I used to love those things)

Well, many of the treats, mass produced products and drinks that appear on our supermarket shelves are indeed Kosher (according to many leading Rabbis). I am not talking about chicken, and meat, and fish, and eating at non-kosher restaurants. I am talking about your average sweet. Or snack. Or loaf of bread. Or drink.

Yes, even the ones without kosher certification

I don’t eat, drink, or consume products that do not have Beth Din Certification. And I don’t give my kids food or drink that is not Beth Din Certified. But I do that because I am damn lazy. It’s easy to rely on the Beth Din. Whether I should or not (given the Glatt Kosher slaughterhouse example) is another debate.

But I do.

I could investigate every product. I could read all the ingredients. I could learn the halacha about certain food additives and animal derivatives. I could use my God-given brain to study Kashrut Halacha and apply it to my life.

But I am too freakin’ lazy.

So, I rely on the Beth Din (for better or for worse).

The fact that I rely on the Beth Din does not mean that non-Beth Din certified products are not Kosher.

What it means, is that non-Deth Din Certified products are not Certified by the Beth Din.

There are many products and services out there are NOT-Kosher……..according to ALL opinions

(aahhh, I miss Spur)

But many products are Kosher, according to MANY opinions, despite not having the Beth Din Certification

So, next time we ‘frum’ Jews call people, or allow Jews to call themselves, ‘Bad Jews’ for eating Jelly Tots BBDC (or similar), think about what’s important:

• Have we degraded our religion to one that focuses on Jelly Tots?

• Should we rebuke someone for eating something that is Kosher according to the Torah and halachah, but perhaps not Kosher Certified?

• Should we acknowledge that there is a difference between Kosher and Kosher certified?
• Should we rely on our ‘holier than though’ hechsher rating system to make us feel good about our ‘progress’ in developing ourselves as Godly Jews, in the mould of our Father Abraham, our Mother Sarah, our Prophet Moses (no image attached)?

• Should we be doing our homework, and use our God given brains and intellect to investigate for ourselves, and discern the difference between Kosher and Kosher Certified?

Nuff said….

For now



*Before Beth Din Certification

# Beth Din Kosher

Friday, May 7, 2010

Farewell to Lolly Jackson: King of kiddie entertainment

Lolly Jackson had many titles. "The King of Sleaze". "The Rainbow Nation's Hugh Hefner". The man who sold "Visual Viagra". A "legend" of the adult entertainment industry

While the death of Lolly Jackson is tragic, I have been wondering about the term 'adult entertainment'.

Why are so many forms of entertainment, or so many activities, associated with the word 'adult'?

We try and look after our children. We try and protect them from the evils of this world. We tell them to eat healthy food. We ask them to exercise. We tell them not to smoke.

Activities like smoking, and eating junk food are not for children. We tell them that they can only do these things when they are older. Only when they are older, will they be able to make 'informed', 'responsible', 'adult' decisions.... to harm themselves.

We tell our children to look after themselves.

And that's pretty 'grown-up' thinking. That is very mature advice.

And yet, as adults, we act like children. Harming our bodies.

Harming our minds

Our sessnce

Look. I like the female form.

Hey, I love the female form. Women are gorgeous. The female body is beautiful.

We tell our children to respect their own bodies. We guide our children in respecting their own, and other people's 'private parts'.

We teach our children to behave like human beings, and not let animal instincts guide their behaviour.

We advise our children to eat healthy foods. To say please and thank you. Not to grab. Not to be greedy.

We guide our children to follow deep meaning relationships. We tell them that cheap thrills are dangerous, and the pursuit of vanity is valueless

When we teach our children, we teach them to behave, and act, like adults.

We teach our children to think with their brains.

Not with their stomachs

Or their penises.

The society we live in tells us that going to strip clubs is a form of "adult entertainment"

Our society accepts, and indeed encourages adults to act like children.

As adults, we act like children in the way we seek cheap thrills. In the way we respect our bodies. In the way we pursue vanity. In the consumer-driven, brand-conscious greed that we aspire to.

Our "adult entertainment" and "grown-up" way of life, keeps us acting (and thinking) like children.

And thanks to the societal acceptance of concepts like 'adult entertainment', we remain completely infantile in our treatment of women...

And ourselves