Gadget: Portable Device Checks Food Contamination in Real-time

Inspecto

FoodTech startup Inspecto Ltd. introduces a new device that detects chemical contamination in food in real-time. The portable scanner can detect contaminants at concentration levels as required by regulators, guaranteeing traceability and complete transparency.

Inspecto’s innovative device brings lab testing to the farmers, food manufactures, and retailers without time-consuming, high-cost lab testing. The Inspecto solution is fast, accurate, affordable, and saves unnecessary costs. This high-tech solution offers the food industry the ability to tailor contaminant testing to their needs and location.

“Our solution helps make food safer and cleaner, and ensures maximum transparency,” says Avner Avidan, CEO of Inspecto. “We already are engaged in pilot projects with leading food companies wanting to take product safety assurance and traceability to the next level.”

The next-gen inspection system scans the product or the crop and identifies contaminants according to specific requirements of the client. A sample is placed in a disposable capsule for detection, inserted into the device, and then activated with a simple press of a button. It scans the sample and processes it automatically within minutes, resulting in a reliable, quantified measurement of the selected contaminant. The scan can be conducted outdoors or indoors, anytime to ensure responsible sourcing. All results are stored on a cloud, recorded and analyzed in real time. This high-tech device fills the industry’s need to conduct more frequent testing at different points along the production line, with immediate results.

“Since each scan is conducted in real-time and the results are stored on the cloud, Inspecto can offer additional services to our customers that, until now, were impossible for them to implement,” explains Avidan. “For example, it enables our customers to approve or reject a shipment on the spot based on the results, and they can even use blockchain to store their information more securely.”

“We developed a portable device to ensure the safety of the product ‘from farm-to-fork’ and help food manufacture control their entire supply chains,” says Yair Moneta, VP of Business Development for Inspecto. “It can disrupt the entire way contaminants are currently being tested, reducing the risk of recalls, food waste, and potential lawsuits.”

The Inspecto device can be tuned to identify almost any chemical contaminant, in any product, liquid or solid. “The advantage of Inspecto is the ability to identify and magnify the unique spectral fingerprint of each contaminant,” added Moneta. “Moreover, you can conduct multiple scans per day without waiting for the results or paying exorbitant lab costs.”

Source: Cision

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Baked Eggs Extraordinaire

Ingredients

2 tbsp canola oil
2 small onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp oregano
dash of pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 cup crumbled light Feta cheese
4 eggs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomato, oregano and pepper and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and mix in the fresh herbs and Feta cheese.
  6. Place mixture in an 8 x 8-inch pan or flan baking dish. Indent four areas of the dish with a spoon and crack the eggs into the indentations.
  7. Bake in preheated oven until the sauce is bubbly and the eggs have just set, about 12-15 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Manitoba Egg Farmers

Egg Katsu Sando

Sandwich made by Shake Shack collaborating with Dominique Ansel

The sandwich features crisp fried steamed egg breaded in panko, spreaded with miso-honey mayo and served on Dominique Ansel milk bread.

Paired with the sandwich is a Morning Maple Latte, which combines La Colombe coffee with steamed maple milk.

The breakfast-set is available for a limited time only in one of Shake Shack store in New York City.

History of Chinese Restaurants in Canada – Excerpt from Chop Suey Nation

Ann Hui wrote . . . . . . . . .

Why is there a Chinese restaurant in every small town? And who are the families who run them? In 2016, journalist Ann Hui set out on a trek across Canada to answer those two ubiquitous questions and it was only after the story was published that she discovered her own family could have been included — her parents had run a Chinese restaurant, The Legion Cafe, before she was born. This discovery set her on a time-sensitive mission: to understand how her family had somehow wound up in Canada.

Chop Suey Nation weaves together Hui’s family story with those of other Chinese restaurant owners from coast to coast. Along her trip, she meets many iconic locals, including a Chinese-restaurant owner and small-town mayor, the owner of a Chinese restaurant in a Thunder Bay curling rink, and the woman who runs a restaurant alone on remote Fogo Island. Hui also uncovers the fascinating history behind “chop suey” cuisine, detailing the invention of classics like “ginger beef” and “Newfoundland chow mein”. Using her own family’s story as a touchstone, she reveals the importance of these restaurants to this country’s history and makes the case for why chop suey cuisine is quintessentially Canadian.


While planning the trip, I became obsessed with trying to find a single answer that could explain the spread of Chinese restaurants across the country. I wondered if there was a single starting point or a single place responsible for the ubiquity and uniformity of these tiny restaurants.

Earlier in my research, Henry Yu, a UBC history professor, had warned me not to get my hopes up. Here in Canada, he said, the spread of restaurants didn’t happen in a straight line. “It’s nodal,” he told me. Major cities became main nodes for the early Chinese immigrants—cities with convenient coastal locations, like Victoria or Vancouver. With the railway, those Chinese communities pushed farther east, too. Often entire villages or families would wind up in specific areas: The Chows from Hoiping settled in Vancouver; the Tsangs settled in Toronto; the Wongs in Kenora, and so on and so on.

From each of these cities, the restaurants spread too. One family would start a restaurant in Edmonton. Their cousins—sometimes with the assistance of their family in Edmonton—would move just outside of the city, to Spruce Grove. And then to Spring Lake. Then Carvel. Then Duffield.

Across decades, the restaurants spread and spread, until there was a Chinese restaurant in just about every town across Canada.

Initially it happened through word of mouth—letters sent via air mail and carefully timed long-distance calls. Now, much of it has moved online. After talking to Professor Yu, I grew curious and searched online for “Chinese restaurant for sale.” The search turned up ad after ad.

“SOLID BUILDING,” read an ad for the Szechuan Garden in Windsor. “GOOD AND STEADY INCOME. CLOSE TO UNIVERSITY.” In Gibsons, BC, a restaurant with red vinyl booths and white plastic tables was selling for $105,000. “Plenty of local traffic,” the ad said. “4.3 stars on Google Reviews.” And in Prince George, a “Chinese/Western restaurant” was for sale. “Could be customized to a Japanese restaurant to accommodate new business.”

Often, the ads emphasized a lifestyle for the entire family — good schools nearby, safe communities, or grocery stores nearby. What they were advertising were not restaurants, but new lives.

On the sixth day of our trip, we woke up at a Best Western in Brandon where we set out for a small town about an hour south, called Boissevain.

In addition to understanding how these restaurants spread, I was still curious about why so many of them seemed to look and feel exactly the same. Already, we had seen evidence of this on our trip. The same vinyl booths. Menus printed in the same font, with the same categories, and the same dishes. The same “Wing’s” brand plum sauce.

Many of the restaurants even had the same names. (David Chen, a blogger, would later write me to share the results of a study he’d conducted on Chinese restaurant names in the United States. He found that there are over 1,770 separate, independent restaurants in the US with the exact same name: “Panda Express.” Another 511 were named “China Wok.” Here in Canada, I was able to find at least seven separate restaurants sharing the latter name in southwestern Ontario alone.) These were restaurants separated by thousands of kilometres — built well before the invention of the Internet made the sharing of ideas quick and easy — yet these restaurants somehow all wound up doing things almost identically. Why?

In my early research, I had found mention of the 1,600-person town of Boissevain, and of Chinese laundries built there as early as 1891. I had seen photos of Boissevain’s local Chinese restaurant, with its classic chop-suey menu and wood-panelled walls. It seemed like the quintessential chop suey restaurant. I thought I might find some answers there.

We drove into town along one of its main streets, past an old grain elevator. We passed the town’s main attraction, a twenty-eight-foot tall fibreglass turtle with a green shell and orange belly named “Tommy the Turtle.” The turtle clutched in one of its limbs a Canadian flag, and in the other an American flag — a gesture to the town’s proximity to the US. Not to be outdone, the wildlife museum right behind Tommy had a giant bear statue out front, staring straight at the turtle.

We rounded the corner, past a giant lumber yard and a trucking yard, towards the pink and grey building with a bright yellow sign—Choy’s Restaurant. As soon as I walked into the restaurant, a young woman wearing a hoodie and sneakers greeted me. I wasn’t sure what to make of her. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail and she grasped her hands shyly in front of her like a teenager. She looked about eighteen years old.

“Does your family run this restaurant?” I asked her.

She nodded yes.

I paused for a moment, taking in the scene around us. The dining area was split in two rooms. The back room looked just as it had in the photos, with wood panelling and tables and chairs in neat rows. At the back of the room, three familiar-looking figurines were set up. They were the three Chinese gods, or san xing, which I recognized from just about every Chinese household I’d ever been in growing up. The one in the middle, with the long black beard and holding a gold nugget, represented fu, or fortune. The one on the right held a scroll to symbolize lu, or status. And the one with the long white beard, carrying a lucky peach, represented shou, immortality or a long life.

But the room where we were standing in looked more like a family room. There was only a single dining table. And on the table were remnants of what looked like the family’s breakfast—some crackers, a few slices of toast and some cut-up cucumber. There were also what looked like a toddler’s drawings—a child, I realized, who was likely hers.

“Are you the owner?”

She nodded again, this time a little shyly, and introduced herself as Su Fen Li.

It turned out Ms. Li was actually thirty-two years old — more or less my age. She had a four-year-old daughter, and the family treated the restaurant as an extension of their living room. She nodded to the front counter, where a gold maneki-neko or “lucky cat” sat on the counter in front of a flat-screen television. That was where she spent most of her time.

Ms. Li seated the two of us at a table in the dining room in the back. As we talked, I noticed her peering back and forth between Anthony and me several times, curious, as if trying to make sense of the two of us. I wondered what she thought of this person in front of her, Chinese but barely able to speak it, and her white husband. I thought how strange I must have seemed to her.

We ordered a few dishes — a Cantonese chow mein and, at her suggestion, a plate of sesame chicken. She disappeared into the kitchen to deliver the order to her husband. Then she came back out to chat with us while we waited for the food.

They had been in Canada about ten years, she said. She spoke in Cantonese, but with a heavy Toisan accent that made her sound like one of my dad’s relatives. I did the math. That would have meant she was just about twenty when she came here. She nodded. She had been running a small clothing stall in Guangzhou. Her husband was fixing air conditioners. But their relatives convinced them they could have brighter futures in Canada. Her husband’s sister—her sister-in-law—was already living in Canada, in Brandon. Her uncle, too, lived in Canada.

They worked a variety of jobs when they first arrived in Brandon, in restaurants, and at the local Maple Leaf Foods pork processing plant. They also tried Toronto, where she worked at a commercial laundry company. But after an entire year there, she received only a 25-cent raise—bringing up her hourly wage to $8.75. Plus it cost more and the traffic was terrible. So they moved back to Brandon.

There, they settled into a string of restaurant jobs. She continued waitressing and he cooked—first at a food-court Chinese restaurant at the mall, and later at a restaurant called the Golden Dragon, where she waited tables. It was her boss at the Golden Dragon who first told her about the restaurant in Boissevain. The couple who had run it for over twenty years were retiring and looking for a new couple to take over. Were they interested?

They took a trip out to Boissevain to see the restaurant. They rounded the corner at the grain mill, drove past Tommy the Turtle and then stopped in front of the short grey building with the bright yellow sign. She pulled her hands into the sleeves of her hoodie and shrugged. “We decided to try,” she said.

When I asked her about what was on my mind—about why so many of these restaurants were so similar—she laughed. It was something she had thought about before.

It was just like all of the other Chinese restaurants, she said. When they bought Choy’s, they were buying the entire business — including the furniture, the equipment and all of its recipes. What the Choy family was selling them was not just a restaurant, but all of their expertise in running the restaurant. For the first month, Mr. Choy stayed with Ms. Li and her husband to show them how to run the restaurant, exactly the way he’d done in the past.

He spent entire days in the kitchen with Ms. Li’s husband, showing him the right way to wrap a spring roll, or the right amount of batter for sesame chicken. He also handed them a dust-covered binder filled with all of the recipes they would need to cook every single item on the menu. This binder and these recipes had been passed down from the previous owner, and the previous owner before that.

At the front counter, he showed Ms. Li how to run the front of house the same way it had always been done. He showed her how to fill out a cheque to properly bill a customer. How to punch in an order on the cash register. How to order new take-out menus from a supplier. Changing anything, including the name, would cost money. And the Choys had already proven their way of doing things could be successful, she said. The more he showed them, the more it became clear that it would easiest and cheapest to keep things exactly the same. And if they were ever to open a Chinese restaurant elsewhere, they’d likely do things exactly the same there, too.

Now, it had been almost a year. She wasn’t sure whether they would stay long-term in Boissevain. I asked if she’d had a chance to see the nearby provincial parks or lakes — or gone to the US, with the border nearby. But she just shook her head and sighed.

“We’re always working,” she said. “There’s no time to stop.”

The number of hours they spent at the restaurant didn’t seem to be adding up with the amount of money they were taking home. Each morning they opened the restaurant at nine and stayed until past closing twelve hours later. Her parents looked after their daughter.

She figured the couple was taking home maybe two thousand dollars each month.

“For this kind of money we may as well work for someone else.”

Another idea was to head out to a bigger city, like Edmonton. They’d heard stories of restaurant owners taking home profits that seemed unimaginable—four or even five thousand dollars each month. But again, she shook her head, as if to say she could never be so lucky.

“Life is made up of many decades,” she said eventually. “We’ll do this for now.”

Source: Eat North

Higher Fitness Level Can Determine Longer Lifespan After Age 70

Researchers have uncovered one more reason to get off the couch and start exercising, especially if you’re approaching your golden years. Among people over age 70, physical fitness was found to be a much better predictor of survival than the number of traditional cardiovascular risk factors in a study being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session.

While high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking are closely linked with a person’s chance of developing heart disease, these factors are so common in older people that the total number of risk factors becomes almost meaningless for predicting future health, researchers said. The new study suggests doctors can get a better picture of older patients’ health by looking at how fit they are, rather than how many of these cardiovascular risk factors they have.

“We found fitness is an extremely strong risk predictor of survival in the older age group—that is, regardless of whether you are otherwise healthy or have cardiovascular risk factors, being more fit means you’re more likely to live longer than someone who is less fit,” said Seamus P. Whelton, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the study’s lead author. “This finding emphasizes the importance of being fit, even when you’re older.”

Doctors use cardiovascular risk factors to help guide decisions about preventive measures and medications. Previous studies have shown that quitting smoking and controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes can reduce heart disease risk. However, most studies of cardiovascular risk factors have focused on middle-aged people, leaving a knowledge gap regarding the importance of these risk factors in older people, Whelton said.

The team analyzed medical records from more than 6,500 people aged 70 years and older who underwent an exercise stress test at a Henry Ford Health Systems-affiliated medical center between 1991 and 2009. They assessed fitness based on patients’ performance during the exercise stress test, which required patients to exercise on a treadmill as hard as they could. They divided patients into three groups reflecting their fitness based on the number of METs (metabolic equivalents, a measure of exercise workload) they achieved during the test: most fit (10 or more METs), moderately fit (six to 9.9 METs) and least fit (six or fewer METs). For this study, the researchers grouped patients with zero, one, two, or three or more cardiovascular risk factors.

On average, participants were 75 years old when they underwent the stress test. Researchers tracked the patients for an average of just under 10 years, during which time 39 percent of them died. Over this period, the researchers found higher fitness was associated with significantly increased rates of survival. The most fit individuals were more than twice as likely to be alive 10 years later compared with the least fit individuals.

In contrast, a patient’s total number of cardiovascular risk factors was not associated with their risk of death and patients with zero risk factors had essentially the same likelihood of dying as those with three or more risk factors.

Whelton said the findings demonstrate that fitness level is an important indicator of an older patient’s health that doctors could benefit from considering more often. While an exercise stress test using a treadmill or stationary bicycle provides the most precise way to measure fitness, doctors can also get a general idea of a patient’s fitness level by asking about their exercise routine.

“Assessing fitness is a low-cost, low-risk and low-technology tool that is underutilized in clinical practice for risk stratification,” Whelton said.

The study did not account for any changes in fitness level that the participants may have experienced over time. However, previous studies have suggested that improving fitness can help improve heart health, even late in life.

“People who aren’t exercising or are sedentary would likely benefit from starting a routine of low- to moderate-intensity exercise, though they should talk with their physician first,” Whelton said.

Source: American College of Cardiology


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Leisure-Time Physical Activity Across Adult Life and Mortality . . . . .


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