In Pictures: Food of Le Rigmarole in Paris, France

Bistro-style Italian and Asian Cuisine

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French Poppy Seed Bread Found to Contain Dangerous Levels of Morphine

Jannat Jalil wrote . . . . . . . . .

People in France are being warned to avoid eating poppy seed bread after tests found that it contained morphine and codeine which could cause intoxication, vomiting or nausea.

French health officials are investigating the so-far-unexplained presence of the drugs in poppy seed baguettes and ready-made sandwiches made with poppy seed bread.

Poppy seeds do not normally contain opiates and government investigators suspect that a batch of seeds supplied to bakeries could have been contaminated from the latex sap of the plant, which contains alkaloids.

The investigators are unsure how much of the popular sandwich bread may have been contaminated.

Jean-Claude Alvarez, head of the toxicology department at the Raymond-Poincaré hospital in Garches, near Paris, said a single sandwich made with poppy seed bread could contain as much as four mg of morphine, the equivalent of nearly half a tablet of morphine sulphate which is given to people suffering from cancer.

“I strongly advise people not to eat poppy seed bread until we tell them otherwise,” Dr Alvarez said. “The drugs we have found (in poppy seed bread) are only supposed to be used by people in severe pain, and then on top of that there is the risk of addiction.”

“We must identify the source of the contamination and the companies that were supplied with this batch of seeds,” he said.

Dr Alvarez added that bakery products containing the seeds which originated from a batch believed to have been contaminated have already been recalled.

The problem was discovered after staff at several French companies tested positive for opiates in routine urine tests and were judged unfit to work. The employees concerned were adamant, however, that they had not taken any drugs.

Health officials then discovered that they had all eaten poppy seed bread. Tests confirmed that the seeds contained “particularly high amounts of alkaloids,” Dr Alvarez said.

He warned that the contaminated bread posed a public health risk, as drivers who consumed it were more likely to fall asleep at the wheel and that it could be especially dangerous for pregnant women, nursing mothers and children.

Source: The Telegraph

Video: Pizza-making Robot to Challenge Traditional Pizzaiolos Worldwide

Are robots about to take over the world-wide famous culinary art of pizzas? This is what French start-up Ekim believes with its brand new concept of a pizzaiolo robot.

Usually seen in factories, this robot is capable of spreading tomato sauce on the pizza base, put the pizza in the oven, take a cardboard box and cut the pizza.

The robot gestures have been synchronized on those of a real-life pizzaiolo, from the art of spreading the dough to the technique of putting oil and pepper on top of a steaming pizza.

Able to perform several tasks at once with its three arms, inventors say the pizza-making robot can deliver a pizza every thirty seconds and up to 120 an hour, when a simple human reaches at best 40 pizzas an hour.

But it’s not all about being fast. All the ingredients offered to the customers are organic and carefully selected in France and Italy.

The idea sprouted in the heads of two French engineers as they were still in university. Fed up with eating low-quality fast food – the only meals they could afford at the time – they started thinking about a solution which could reconcile rapidity and quality at any hour of the day.

As one would with a traditional vending machine serving coffee or snacks, the concept will allow anyone to order a freshly cooked pizza at any time of the day or night.

The robot pizza hasn’t left its showroom just outside Paris but Ekim are currently looking for a place in the French capital to install their autonomous restaurant and plan to franchise their concept as soon as 2019 for it to cross the French border into Europe and the rest of the world.

But at the O’Scia pizzeria in central Paris, the chef is made of flesh. Neapolitan born and bred, Vittorio Monti has golden hands and the pizzas that come out of his oven are as close as it gets to pizza heaven. His art, he says, cannot be reproduced by a robot.

Although he admits a human being will always cost more than a robot, there’s no way a robot can adapt to the living ingredients he uses every day.

Watch video at You Tube (4:23 minutes) . . . . .

France Banned Calling Meat Alternative ‘Meat’

Malte B Rodl wrote . . . . . . .

France recently passed an amendment to its agriculture bill. It prohibits any product that is largely based on non-animal ingredients from being labelled like a traditional animal product. This essentially bans product names such as “vegetable steak”, “soy sausage”, or “bacon-flavoured strips”.

The argument is that consumers might be misled into believing the products were real meat. Commentators have pointed out how bizarre this claim is, given that these products can easily be distinguished from meat products by their name and their taste.

But to understand this legislation, it’s necessary to look at the recent history of changing food trends and the effect this is having on the meat industry.

Changing tastes

There is an increasing demand for meat alternatives across the globe. Market research forecasts suggest this will grow 8.4 per cent between 2015 and 2020. The UK market for meat alternatives currently ranges between £250m and £300m annually, which is nearly 3 per cent of the meat market.

And these substitutes are not just popular with vegetarians and vegans. The largest share of meat alternatives are bought by consumers looking to reduce their meat intake, and so-called flexitarians. There are growing health, ethical and sustainability concerns around animal farming and so every forecast is highly optimistic that the demand for meat substitutes will grow.

It’s easy to see how the meat industry might feel threatened: its market share is being eaten into.

In some countries, including Germany, the Netherlands and the US, the meat industry has realised the huge potential of this area. For example, some prominent manufacturers of meat-free products in Germany are meat processors. They argue that “if anyone can produce alternative products tasting like meat and sausages, it would be us”.

Due to their combined negotiating power with retailers and large available funds, they have an advantage over new entrants to the market. In North America, some of the world’s biggest meat manufacturers are investing in meat-free companies, aiming to keep up with changing times.

In other countries, such as France or the UK, this shift into the branded meat-free market still seems distant. One important factor is the fear of losing out on business by competing with itself. So it might not come as a surprise that the originator of the aforementioned French amendment was a cattle farmer.

Legal precedent

This perceived threat is also an issue with dairy products. The French amendment draws a coherent logic to a ruling of the European Court of Justice in June 2017. This ruling prohibited dairy product names for non-dairy products, such as “soy yogurt” or “vegan cheese”.

It was based on EU legislation from 2013 which protected milk as “the normal mammary secretion”, and on that basis all dairy-related product names. Excluded are traditional versions, such as almond or coconut milk and peanut butter.

There has been no such legislation on meat and an EU commissar in 2016 replied to a parliamentary question saying there was no such legislation planned. But the meat industry is clearly getting protective over naming issues.

Source: Independent

In Pictures: Baked Goods of Pastry Shops in Paris, France