China’s Regulator Finds 35,000 Illegal Restaurants on Platforms of Online Food Delivery Providers

Yingzhi Yang wrote . . . . . . . . .

Chinese on-demand delivery services operators, including Meituan Dianping and Alibaba Group Holding-owned Ele.me, are tightening inspection of restaurants (ghost kitchens) on their online platforms, after a government regulator found up to 35,000 such establishments were operating illegally.

The Beijing Market Supervision Administration, which has initiated more than 2,100 cases against those illegal food merchants, announced on Wednesday that it has met with these platform operators to “ensure the safety of online-ordered food”. It did not identify the offending merchants.

Many of the restaurants listed with the online delivery platforms operators either did not have a licence or carried a fake licence, according to the regulator. It said the platforms failed to set up a strict inspection system to review the quality of food vendors they do business with.

The country’s major food delivery platform players were on board with the regulator’s direction, according to separate statements they made on Wednesday.

“We will use our Sky Net system to strengthen our inspection mechanism,” said Lu Weijia, chief food security officer at Meituan Dianping. In addition, Lu said the company plans to set up food safety insurance for its users.

Sky Net, which provides a digital archive of all the merchants on Meituan Dianping’s platforms, is also being integrated by the company with local regulatory databases to help speed up its merchant verification and inspection processes.

“We’ll carry out what the Market Supervision Administration has asked us to do,” said an Ele.me spokesman. Ele.me has already established a credit system for food vendors, which will take unqualified suppliers offline permanently, the spokesman said.

The regulator’s action has come as more Chinese consumers choose to order food online and receive delivery offline. It is a market segment in which on-demand delivery app operator Meituan Waimai, a unit of Hong Kong-listed Meituan Dianping, is the country’s largest player.

Meituan Dianping and Ele.me account for a combined 98 per cent of the food delivery services market in China, according to recent industry estimates.

Last year, there were more than 36 million users of online food delivery services on the mainland, a report by Data Centre of China Internet has estimated. That amounted to 445 billion yuan (US$66.3 billion) in total transactions, according to Chinese market research firm Analysys.

Tencent Holdings-backed Meituan Dianping reported a wider net loss of 3.4 billion yuan in the December quarter amid intense competition for market share with Ele.me in on-demand deliveries and with Ctrip, Qunar and Alibaba’s Fliggy in the online travel segment.

Source: SCMP

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Chinese Chiu-chow-style Roasted Pigeon with Bean Paste

Ingredients

1 pigeon, about 12 to 14 oz
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 stalks of spring onions
1 slice of ginger
1 stalk of cilantro
1/2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine

Seasoning

1-1/2 tbsp Chiu-chow bean paste (潮州豆醬)
1/2 tbsp sesame paste
2/3 tsp sugar
1 cup of water
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce

Method

  1. Cut off the feet of the pigeon. Wash and wipe dry. Put 1/2 tsp salt into the stomach of the pigeon. Rub 1 tsp dark soy sauce on the skin. Marinate for 1/2 hour.
  2. Saute the pigeon with 3 tbsp oil until it turns golden yellow.
  3. Saute the ginger, spring onions and cilantro. Drizzle wine.
  4. Put a bamboo rack into the pot and put the pigeon, ginger, spring onions and cilantro on top of it. Add seasoning and boil in low heat for 25 minutes. Turn the pigeon from time to time.
  5. Discard the ginger, spring onion, cilantro and beans in the sauce.
  6. Chop the pigeon into pieces and arrange on serving plate. Pour the sauce on the pigeon and serve.

Source: Chiu-chow Cuisine

In Pictures: Food of Le Rigmarole in Paris, France

Bistro-style Italian and Asian Cuisine

The Restaurant

Should You Get Pills or Surgery for Atrial Fibrillation?

Many older Americans have the worrisome and potentially dangerous irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation, or “a-fib,” and they’re typically offered medicines or a surgery called ablation to correct it.

Which works best?

Two new trials may have the answer. Researchers say ablation and medicines perform similarly in protecting a-fib patients from stroke, death and other complications.

However, ablation may beat out drug therapy over the long term, reducing recurrences of a-fib and related hospitalizations for years to come, researchers say.

Patients who got ablation — where a catheter is used to tweak the heart muscle cells responsible for the arrhythmia — also seemed to have less shortness of breath, less fatigue and all-around better quality of life five years later, compared to those who got drug therapy alone.

The quality-of-life trial, “because of its size and duration, provides extraordinary new data regarding the patient’s perspective,” said Dr. Yves Rosenberg.

He was program officer for the study, and is also chief of the Atherothrombosis and Coronary Artery Disease Branch at the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which helped fund both trials.

A cardiologist who reviewed the findings said the data should reassure patients.

“I think the takeaway from this study is that catheter ablation is effective and safe for treating atrial fibrillation,” said Dr. Laurence Epstein, who directs electrophysiology at Northwell Health in Manhasset, N.Y.

“If you have atrial fibrillation and are symptomatic, ablation is a reasonable first-line option, as opposed to taking drugs,” he said.

Treatment pros and cons

According to the NHLBI, a-fib affects at least 2.7 million Americans and can lead to stroke, heart failure, and even mental impairment. Symptoms include rapid heart palpitations (“flip-flops” or skips); fatigue; shortness of breath, and difficulty doing physical activity.

“Since current drug therapies often have limited effectiveness in controlling atrial fibrillation, it is very important to understand whether ablation, an invasive procedure, yields better outcomes,” Dr. David Goff, director in the division of cardiovascular sciences at the NHLBI, said in an institute news release.

As Epstein explained, during ablation, “long catheters — wires with electrodes on them — are placed into the heart via the large veins in the groin. Radio waves are delivered from the catheter to the heart muscle, which causes heat and the controlled destruction of the muscle cells responsible for causing atrial fibrillation.”

Sometimes ablation is performed using tiny balloons that freeze the heart muscle to create the same effect.

Of course, no treatment is foolproof. “Depending on the patient the procedure can be as effective as 80-90 percent,” Epstein said, “but in others, at best, 50 percent.”

Many other patients get drug therapy alone to control the aberrant heart rhythm. But Epstein said outcomes are often “disappointing because the drugs do not work that well and that they can cause ‘pro-arrhythmia.’

“Pro-arrhythmia is when a drug used to treat an abnormal heart rhythm can actually cause a worse, more dangerous heart rhythm,” he explained.

Long-term benefits

To settle the meds-versus-ablation debate, the NHLBI helped conduct these two trials, which included more than 2,200 patients treated at 126 sites in the United States, Canada, Asia and Europe.

Half the patients had ablation and half were put on drug therapy, but could have ablation if their a-fib symptoms could not be controlled with medication — something known as “intent to treat.”

In the end, about 27 percent of the patients who started on drug therapy did end up undergoing ablation.

The median follow-up of patients in the trial was about four years.

“While data from the trial did not show that ablation was superior to drug therapy in reducing rates of deaths and strokes, it showed reduced recurrence of atrial fibrillation, as well as reductions in hospitalizations,” Rosenberg said in the news release.

The researchers noted that the overall rate of deaths and strokes was lower than expected. Also, about 9 percent of the patients assigned to receive ablation did not, in the end, undergo the procedure.

So, “when we examined the data according to the treatment actually received, the ablation group had significantly lower rates of death as well as the combination of death, disabling stroke, serious bleeding, or cardiac arrest compared with patients who only received drug therapy,” said study principal investigator Dr. Douglas Packer. He’s a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

The research team found that 12 months after the start of treatment, both groups of patients had at least some improvement in their quality of life. However, those in the ablation group had a larger decline in symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath, and their boost in quality of life lasted through five years of follow-up.

At the start of the study, 86 percent of patients in the ablation group and 84 percent on drug therapy reported atrial fibrillation symptoms during the previous month. By the end of the study, only 25 percent of patients in the ablation arm and 35 percent of those on drugs only reported symptoms.

Patients with the most severe symptoms at the start of the study had much greater improvement after ablation than those who initially had mild symptoms, the researchers added.

Dr. Satjit Bhusri is a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Reviewing the new data, he said that the trials give doctors and patients valuable guidance.

First of all, he said, if your a-fib isn’t so bad that it harms your quality of life, perhaps controlling it with medicines alone might work. However, when quality of life is affected, a move to ablation therapy may be warranted, Bhusri said.

For his part, Epstein believes “we certainly need to continue to study these findings. As technology continues to advance, and ablation procedures become safer and more effective, ablation will most certainly become the treatment of choice.”

The papers were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Source : HealthDay

Mentally Tiring Work May Increase Diabetes Risk in Women

Women who find their jobs mentally tiring are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology. The study findings suggest that mentally draining work, such as teaching, may increase the risk of diabetes in women. This suggests that employers and women should be more aware of the potential health risks associated with mentally tiring work.

Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent disease that places a huge burden on patients and society, and can lead to significant health problems including heart attacks, strokes, blindness and kidney failure. Numerous factors can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes including, obesity, diet, exercise, smoking or a family history of the disease. A recent review suggested that work-related stress might be associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in women, but more investigation is needed.

In a French study, Dr Guy Fagherazzi and colleagues from the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health at Inserm, examined the effect of mentally tiring work on diabetes incidence in over 70,000 women, during a 22-year period. Approximately 75% of the women were in the teaching profession and 24% reported finding their work very mentally tiring at the beginning of the study. The study found that women were 21% more likely to develop type-2 diabetes if they found their jobs mentally tiring at the start of the study. This was independent of typical risk factors including age, physical activity level, dietary habits, smoking status, blood pressure, family history of diabetes and BMI.

Dr Guy Fagherazzi comments, “Although we cannot directly determine what increased diabetes risk in these women, our results indicate it is not due to typical type 2 diabetes risk factors. This finding underscores the importance of considering mental tiredness as a risk factor for diabetes among women.”

Dr Guy Fagherazzi states, “Both mentally tiring work and type 2 diabetes are increasingly prevalent phenomena. What we do know is that support in the workplace has a stronger impact on work-related stress in women than men. Therefore, greater support for women in stressful work environments could help to prevent chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes.”

The team now plans to study how mentally tiring work affects patients with diabetes, including how they manage their treatment, their quality of life and the risks of diabetes-related complications. This research may help to identify new approaches that could help improve the lives of patients living with diabetes.

Source: EurekAlert!


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