Ikea Pulls Almond Cakes After Finding Bacteria Associated with Faeces

Swedish furniture giant Ikea pulled a batch of almond cakes from its restaurants in 23 countries on Tuesday after Chinese authorities said they contained coliform bacteria, normally present in faecal matter.

The Swedish-made cakes had failed tests “for containing an excessive level of coliform bacteria, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine,” the Shanghai Daily website wrote.

Ikea said 1,800 Taarta Chokladkrokant cakes — described on its website as an almond cake with chocolate, butter cream and butterscotch — were destroyed in December after being intercepted by Chinese customs.

“These cakes never reached our stores,” said Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson.

“There are indications that the levels of bacteria found are low but we obviously have to know the exact amount, and find out how this happened,” she added.

A microbiologist at the Swedish National Food Agency, Mats Lindblad, said coliform bacteria “could be an indication of faecal contamination though not always”.

He said the bacteria were normally not dangerous for consumers.

Ikea last week pulled its trademark meatballs off the shelves in 25 countries after Czech authorities found traces of horse DNA in a batch of one-kilogramme (2.2-pound) bags of frozen meatballs.

“It’s very important to us that the products our customers buy are safe and secure to use and to eat,” Magnusson said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Contemporary Cuisine Incorporating Molecular Gastronomy Techniques

The Food

The Restaurant – MC Kitchen, Hong Kong

Character Bento

Ninja Charaben

The Character – Ninja (忍者)

Eating Junk Food While Pregnant May Make Your Child A Junk Food Addict

New research in The FASEB Journal shows that eating a junk food diet during pregnancy changes the development of the opioid signaling pathway in the baby’s brain, resulting in decreased sensitivity.

Here’s another reason why a healthy diet during pregnancy is critical to the future health of your children: New research published in the March 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal, suggests that pregnant mothers who consume junk food actually cause changes in the development of the opioid signaling pathway in the brains of their unborn children. This change results in the babies being less sensitive to opioids, which are released upon consumption of foods that are high in fat and sugar. In turn, these children, born with a higher “tolerance” to junk food need to eat more of it to achieve a “feel good” response.

“The results of this research will ultimately allow us to better inform pregnant women about the lasting effect their diet has on the development of their child’s lifelong good preferences and risk of metabolic disease,” said Beverly Muhlhausler, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the FOODplus Research Centre at the School of Agriculture Food and Wine at The University of Adelaide in Adelaide, Australia. “Hopefully, this will encourage mothers to make healthier diet choices which will lead to healthier children.”

To make this discovery, Muhlausler and colleagues studied the pups of two groups of rats, one of which had been fed a normal rat food and the other which had been fed a range of human “junk foods” during pregnancy and lactation. After weaning, the pups were given daily injections of an opioid receptor blocker, which blocks opioid signaling. Blocking opioid signaling lowers the intake of fat and sugar by preventing the release of dopamine. Results showed that the opioid receptor blocker was less effective at reducing fat and sugar intake in the pups of the junk food fed mothers, suggesting that the opioid signaling pathway in these offspring is less sensitive than for pups whose mothers are eating a standard rat feed.

“This study shows that addiction to junk food is true addiction.” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Junk food engages the same body chemistry as opium, morphine or heroin. Sad to say, junk food during pregnancy turns the kids into junk food junkies.”

Source: EurekAlert!

Chinese Stir-fry of Five-spice Flavoured Tofu


3 pieces dried five-spice tofu
250 g pickled mustard green
1 red chili, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tsp sugar
salt and white ground pepper


  1. Soak and rinse pickled mustard green. Drain and squeeze dry. Cut into dices.
  2. Cut tofu into dices.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Sauté garlic and red chili until fragrant. Add tofu and stir-fry until slightly golden.
  4. Add mustard green and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

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