Chocolate Made in South Africa for homesick Brits?

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This blog is about the weirdness of global trade… and the
lengths (literally) we go for chocolate.

The wrapper on my Marks & Spencer (M&S) valentine chocolates read: “Made with our exclusive British Milk chocolate recipe, Made in
South Africa”.

Incredibly, it seemed that a firm in South Africa (SA) was targeting local people with a taste for British chocolate, and somehow M&S
sourced them for sale in the UK! 

Was this I wondered another example of fuel miles not being
built into food production costs (see “food miles”), like apples  from the Cape or Kenyan flowers at petrol stations?

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Epigenetics: epi what?

Pity the poor editor on BBC’s news programme  “Breakfast” (11 jan 2011) subtitling, as Professor Robert Winston and others discussed the possibility of gender selection to "complete your family in the way you desire" i.e. to finally achieve that longed for girl or boy.

Throughout the discussion the text editor had kept up admirably, coping with explanations of these gender selection techniques:

  • at fertilisation (by enriching for male sperm)
  • pre-implantation (by removing a cell from a fertilised embryo to check the sex.

 (Both techniques are tried and tested. Sperm enrichment is used for cattle breeding and pre-implantation tests are used to select healthy embryos without a gender-linked genetic defect)

 In vivo fertilisation was rendered accurately too, which just shows how much the public has come to know and understand about IVF since it was first introduced all those years ago.

Then Professor Winston mentioned in passing “epigenetic influences” which was transcribed rapidly onto my TV screen as “EDGE THE GENETIC”!

Clearly the editor hadn’t a clue. So I’ve decided to define (& explain) for you the term “epigenetic” so that you will.  Along the way, I hope, you emerge fascinated…

 

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F is for….

Firefighters…fishermen…or farmers? What do you think these three groups of professionals might have in common? All of them save lives, of course. Or they could be doing, as a result of new data presented yesterday in a satellite symposium held as part of the Nutrition Society’s 2008 Summer Meeting.

Experts meeting to discuss the latest research findings from the Lipgene1 project, explored the need to improve people’s intakes of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, also often known as omega-3 fatty acids2 in order to prevent all the suffering, death and public expense caused by coronary heart disease each year. Importantly, they also shared data on how those intakes could be improved, almost without us being aware of it.

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Haemodynamically yours

Planning to woo your beloved with a romantic tête-à-tête this evening? Looking forward to the incomparable moment when your eyes meet in the flickering candlelight over that bottle of expensive red wine you ordered to get you both in the mood for love?

At this point if you can tear your eyes away from the object of your affections, scan the room for Canadian cardiologists. They are about to pour cold water on your little soirée. While one measure* of the wine you so carefully chose may have the desired effect, if your lover reaches to pour you a second one, you may as well put that Céline Dion CD on pause and get your coat.

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