US Made Chopsticks Exported to China

For more than 3,000 years, chopsticks have been the quintessential Chinese dining tool. Now, millions of chopsticks are getting a “made in the United States” label, as a Georgia factory churns out utensils that will be exported to China.

The type of wood required for chopsticks – not too hard, not too soft – is scarce in China, but Southern Georgia is lush with both poplar and sweet gum trees, which are ideal. Most Chinese chopstick companies have traditionally imported wood from Russia and a few other countries to manufacture in China. But new Russian regulations against shipping raw lumber and rising freight prices have forced the industry to consider alternatives.

Entrepreneur Jae Lee, who is a South Korean-born US citizen, had initially been interested in shipping lumber to China.

But he got the idea to set up shop in the US after speaking with a friend in the chopstick business who was discouraged by increasing freight costs, he said in an interview with China Daily.

In November he opened Georgia Chopsticks in the town of Americus, Georgia, and is now producing 2 million chopsticks a day.

“China is the No 1 importer for raw materials,” he said. “But it can be very expensive to ship materials, and some of the materials often get wasted in production. I realized that instead of sending logs, I could save money by producing somewhere else and then sending the products to China. Of course when a lot of labor needs to be done, you cannot beat Chinese prices. But when it’s just basic work, it’s worth it.”

Lee said the wood is trimmed down to the basic shape of the chopsticks at the factory in Georgia. Then most of the company’s wares are shipped to China, where they are polished and packaged in a Japanese-owned factory in Dalian. Some of the chopsticks are then sent to Japan and South Korea to be sold.

Since opening, the company has employed 25 workers and plans to hire at least 125 more to ultimately produce 10 million chopsticks a day, he said. This is great news for a town where unemployment is at 12 percent.

“This benefits both sides,” Lee said. “I think more Chinese companies should look outside China, instead of just buying raw materials. Right now, we’re the only chopstick company doing this. But I really think more Chinese companies should consider doing this in other areas too.”

Source: China Daily

Chips, Fries, Soda Most to Blame for Long-Term Weight Gain

The edict to eat less and exercise more is far from far-reaching, as a new analysis points to the increased consumption of potato chips, French fries, sugary sodas and red meat as a major cause of weight gain in people across the United States.

Inadequate changes in lifestyle factors such as television watching, exercise and sleep were also linked to gradual but relentless weight gain across the board.

Data from three separate studies following more than 120,000 healthy, non-obese American women and men for up to 20 years found that participants gained an average of 3.35 pounds within each four-year period — totaling more than 16 pounds over two decades.

The unrelenting weight gain was tied most strongly to eating potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, red and processed meats and refined grains such as white flour.

“This is the obesity epidemic before our eyes,” said study author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an associate professor in the department of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health and the division of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “It’s not a small segment of the population gaining an enormous amount of weight quickly; it’s everyone gaining weight slowly.”

“I was surprised how consistent the results were, down to the size of the effect and direction of the effect,” he said.

The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Read more ….

A Quick Stew of Fish and Vegetables

Ingredients

1 onion
1 small zucchini
1/2 small eggplant
1 pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced
11/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
3/4 tsp salt
Pinch of hot red-chili flakes and granulated sugar
4 thin fish fillets, such as catfish or tilapia, about 6 oz each

Method

  1. Coarsely chop onion, zucchini, eggplant and pepper. Lightly coat a very large frying pan with olive oil and set over medium heat. Add onion. Stir frequently until onion starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in vegetables, tomatoes, garlic and seasonings. Cover and stir occasionally until vegetables are tender and tomatoes begin to soften and pop, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle fish with generous pinches of salt and pepper, then place on top of vegetable mixture. Spoon some vegetables overtop. Cover and continue cooking until a knife tip inserted into the thickest part of fish comes out warm, 6 to 8 minutes, depending on thickness. Spoon vegetables into wide soup or pasta bowls, then place fillets on top.

Nutrients for each of four servings

221 calories, 5 g fat, 14 g carbohydrates, 4 g fibre, 582 mg sodium, 32 g protein

Source: Chatelaine