Saturday, July 3, 2010


Haiti in Hunger

The worst earthquake in 200 years is written in history on January 12th 2010 around 4.53 p.m. (5.53 a.m. in Malaysia). The 7.0 in magnitude Richter scale - struck less than ten miles from the Caribbean city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The initial quake was later followed by twelve aftershocks greater than magnitude 5.0 . Structures of all kinds were damaged or collapsed, from shantytown homes to national landmarks. It still in estimate, but the dead is feared to reach 100,000 people, leave only devastation, hunger and poor life condition.
The Haitian crisis is so extreme it forces people to eat (non-food) mud cookies (called "pica") to relieve hunger. It's a desperate Haitian remedy made from dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau for those who can afford it. It's not free! In Cite Soleil's crowded slums, people use a combination of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening for a typical meal when it's all they can afford. A Port-au-Prince AP reporter sampled it. He said it had "a smooth consistency (but it) sucked all the moisture out of (my) mouth as soon as it touched (my) tongue. For hours (afterwards), an unpleasant taste of dirt lingered." Worse is how it harms human health. A mud cookie diet causes severe malnutrition, intestinal distress, and other deleterious effects from potentially deadly toxins and parasites.

Another problem is the cost. This stomach-filler isn't free. Haitians have to buy it, and "edible clay" prices are rising - by almost $1.50 in the past year. It now costs about $5 to make 100 cookies (about 5 cents each), it's cheaper than food, but many Haitians can't afford it:

-- 80% of them are impoverished in the hemisphere's poorest country and one of the world's poorest;

-- unemployment is rampant, and two-thirds or more of workers have only sporadic jobs; and

-- those with them earn 11 to 12 cents an hour; the country's official minimum wage is $1.80 a day, but IMF figures show 55% of employed Haitians receive only 44 cents daily, an impossible amount to live on.

The Haitian’s life crisis is worsening with the earthquake chain. Necessary humanitary aid is unable to supply to the Haitian. It is still very early in the recovery effort, but millions are likely displaced, and hundreds of rescue teams from all over the world are now descending on Haiti to help where they are able. Various organization from well-known to the small society try to help, giving hope to the survivor. Food stock, clean water supply, sanitation supplies, medical care and donation are sending to Haiti immediately. Our country also involve in helping in various way and mainly through Mercy Malaysia. However, many still need to be done, not only for now but also for the long term. All people around the world trying to help from A to Z, hoping the Haitian can survive day by day. One question rise, where are we in that move ?

FOOD culture


Chinese New Year is a time for families to reunite, not only to welcome in the new lunar year, but also to feast together and wish each other good fortune. Getting ready for the new year can begin as early as the preceding month, when families will be doing all they can to ensure a smooth and auspicious transition from one year to the next. As such, houses are swept and cleaned from top-to-bottom to rid the home of any bad luck that may cling and carry over to the new year.
The eve of the Spring Festival is perhaps one of the most important days of celebration. It is the day for families to reunite and feast on the most sumptuous meal of the holiday. Often the meal will continue after midnight, so that fortunes may also carry over into the new year. Many
new year dishes are served 'whole' - such as whole fish, or whole chicken or duck - as the action of slicing and cutting carries bad connotations, such as severing family ties. As such, food preparation is done sometimes far in advance before the new year to avoid bad omens.


What gives a certain food symbolic significance? Sometimes it is based on appearance. For example, serving a whole chicken during the Chinese New Year season symbolizes family togetherness.
Noodles represent a long life; an old superstition says that it's bad luck to cut them. Both clams and Spring Rolls symbolize wealth; clams because of their resemblance to bouillon, and Spring Rolls because their shape is similar to gold bars.
On the other hand, a food may have special significance during Chinese New Year because of the way the Chinese word for it sounds. For example, the Cantonese word for lettuce sounds like rising fortune, so it is very common to serve a lettuce wrap filled with other lucky food.
Tangerines and oranges are passed out freely during Chinese New Year as the words for tangerine and orange sound like luck and wealth, respectively.
On New Year's Day, the Chinese family eat a vegetarian dish called "jai." The various ingredients are root or fibrous vegetables. These include:

* Lotus seed - signify having many male offspring
* Ginkgo nut - represents silver ingots
* Black moss seaweed - is a homonym for exceeding in wealth
* Dried bean curd is another homonym for fulfillment of wealth and happiness
* Bamboo shoots - is a term which sounds like "wishing that everything would be well"
* Fresh bean curd or tofu is not included as it is white and unlucky for New Year as the color signifies death and misfortune.



There are 1.02 billion undernourished people in the world today. That means one in nearly six people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. Hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to the health worldwide means greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Among the key causes of hunger are natural disasters, conflict, poverty, poor agricultural infrastructure and over-exploitation of the environment. Recently, financial and economic crises have pushed more people into hunger. South Asia has the highest levels of child malnutrition in the world, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute. The report says the current hot spots of hunger and under-nutrition are in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. A Unicef report said half of the world's under-nourished children live in South Asia. The Washington-based institute released the Global Hunger Index ahead of World Food Day on 16 October. According to its findings, the 10 countries with the highest levels of hunger are all in Sub-Saharan Africa. However it says that: "South Asia has higher levels of child under-nutrition than Sub-Saharan Africa, but Sub-Saharan Africa has higher rates of child mortality."The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is warning that 27 sub-Saharan countries now need help. But what appear as isolated disasters brought about by drought or conflict in countries like Somalia, Malawi, Niger, Kenya and Zimbabwe are in reality systemic problems. It is African agriculture itself that is in crisis, and according to the International Food Policy Research Institute, this has left 200 million people malnourished.
It is particularly striking that the FAO highlights political problems such as civil strife, refugee movements and returnees in 15 of the 27 countries it declares in need of urgent assistance. By comparison drought is only cited in 12 out of 27 countries. The implication is clear - Africa's years of wars, coups and civil strife are responsible for more hunger than the natural problems that befall it.





The US Department of Agriculture's Research Service (ARS) scientists have filed a patent on microfiltration technology that can protect pasteurized liquid eggs from food safety threats. These threats include both naturally occurring spoilage bacteria and pathogens.
Consumers can avoid illness by properly preparing and cooking the eggs before consumption, but the researchers have found that the new technology can compensate for the shortcomings of thermal pasteurization . The technology - crossflow microfiltration membrane separation (CMF) - removes more pathogens than
thermal pasteurization. And it does so without affecting the egg’s ability to foam, coagulate and emulsify, meaning that CMF-treated eggs could be safely substituted for pasteurized eggs in angel food cake and other products where those characteristics are desired.
In a pilot-scale study, CMF was shown to remove about 99.99% of inoculated Salmonella enteritidis from unpasteurised liquid egg whites. The technology can also be used to remove bacillus anthracis spores from egg whites. Although effective in its own right, CMF works best when used as an accompaniment to pasteurization, not a replacement for it.

- During the Alaskan Klondike gold rush, (1897-1898) potatoes were practically worth their weight in gold. Potatoes were so valued for their vitamin C content that miners traded gold for potatoes.

- Since Hindus don't eat beef, the MacDonald's in New Delhi makes its burgers with mutton.

- In a true Chinese meal, the last course is soup because it allows the roast duck entree to "swim" toward digestion.

Assalamualaikum and hello….
This is the first edition of Foodbites in 2010 and released under the new board of PMSSMP!! Hooray... On this issue, we bring to u news about our friends in Haiti, which recently has been struck by the natural disaster. Last not least, our team hope you all enjoy this newsletter. Well as a warp, we wishing all UMS student will pass the midterm with flying colour. Enjoy your reading and meet again in next edition!

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