Food Labeling

Sometimes things shock me, that shouldn’t really shock me at all. One of them is the limited response to the Allergic Living “write-in“, a citizen’s opportunity to let the government know that accurate and thorough food labeling is important to Canadians.  My interest in and knowledge about food labels developed in response to my condition of anaphylaxis.  When I last checked this morning, only 1,545 individuals felt the issue important enough to let their voice be heard. Thanks to anyone out there who has already participated.

Where are the rest of my fellow Canadians, the other 33,738,355 Canadians, to be exact? Where is the media coverage that would bring this serious issue to the attention of Canadians? Why exactly is this issue not receiving the public recognition it merits? Whose interests are being served?

I can think of several examples where people have assumed that food or beverage were safe. They were wrong and people died. The Franklin Expedition, for example, assumed that the canned goods they ate were safe, and never knew that they had been poisoned by lead, which affected their cognitive functioning and compromised their ability to survive the other hardships they faced. Another, more recent, example is the Walkerton Tragedy, Walkerton is a community that assumed that government regulations ensured a safe water supply. They were wrong. And then there is tobacco, more Canadian labeling under fire.

It was interesting that at the time of the Walkerton Tragedy, when it first hit the news, I spoke out and voiced my concerns on a public forum. I was openly ridiculed for voicing concerns that were eventually addressed by the Walkerton Commission.

I find public complacence about food, beverage and substance safety issues shocking.

The sad thing is that I have no rational reason to find this complacence shocking.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-13 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Visibility: 11 km
Temperature: -13.0°C
Dewpoint: -13.8°C
Humidity: 94 %
Wind: SE 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -18

Quote

“People need to be shocked out of their complacency about tobacco”
David Byrne

Notes

The Franklin Expedition
Rear-Admiral Sir John Franklin KCH FRGS RN (16 April 1786 – 11 June 1847) was a British Royal Navy officer and Arctic explorer who mapped almost two thirds of the northern coastline of North America. Franklin also served as governor of Tasmania for several years. In his last expedition, he disappeared while attempting to chart and navigate a section of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. The entire crew perished from starvation, hypothermia, tuberculosis, lead poisoning, scurvy and exposure before and after Franklin died and the expedition’s icebound ships were abandoned in desperation.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Franklin

The Walkerton Tragedy
“The Walkerton Tragedy is a series of events that accompanied the contamination of the water supply of Walkerton, Ontario, Canada, by E. coli bacteria in May 2000.”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkerton_Tragedy

Tobacco Lobby
“Canada became the first country to implement health warnings on cigarette packages when they initiated the use of warnings starting December 2000. Cigarette packages are required to have a health warning cover 50% of the front and 50% of the back of the package (one side in English and the other side in French, the two official Canadian languages). Overall, 50% of the package space is appropriated to health warnings. In addition to health warnings on the outside of packages, 1 of 16 rotated messages are required to appear on the inside of each cigarette package, either on the slide or on an insert. A set of 16 health warnings are rotated on packages.
Canada also prohibits the terms “light” and “mild” from appearing on packages
As well, Canada requires tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and benzene emission numbers to appear on the side of packages. Two numbers appear from each emission: one from the ISO and one from the Health Canada machine smoking method.”
Source: http://www.tobaccolabels.ca/currentl/canada

“Health Canada’s abrupt decision in September to back down from expanding warning labels on cigarette packages came after tobacco company lobbyists waged a co-ordinated, sometimes secretive lobbying campaign, CBC News has learned… But in September, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said plans to update warnings on cigarette packages had been halted, and the government’s new focus would be on fighting the sale of contraband cigarettes.”
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/12/08/tobacco-conservatives-lobbying008.html#ixzz1C3IGgtxy

Cool Indoors

There was a bit of light in the sky this morning, when Attila left for work; I could see him to wave goodbye.

Pretty With An Edge -26C

Pretty With An Edge -26C

The outdoor temperature is -26C, getting warmer.  The indoor temperature is 16C in the warmest part of the house, right beside the masonry heater.  After Attila left I spent ten minutes before the fire, warming my clothes before dressing for the day.  When it is cool indoors it is very important not to allow yourself to become chilled.  I am wearing the same clothes I wore yesterday, plus my fingerless gloves.  The temperature outdoors should rise steadily during the day; the temperature indoors will follow suit. By tomorrow Attila will restore cozy. Mist adores Attila, with good reason.

During the last week I’ve left the house for a total of three hours. This is a problem, as the longer the isolation, the more painful it becomes to venture forth from home and participate in the world. One week of isolation is my threshold, after that venturing forth becomes a source of anxiety. Luckily I have a job interview tomorrow, and after that I am scheduled to work for a few days at the end of this week. My anxiety at venturing forth after isolation is mixed with the anxiety of performing well on a job interview; all the anxiety is dealt with in one single experience! Then I’m good to go for the rest of the week.

I tried to purchase a book from Kobo today, but ran into a glitch. They charged my credit card, but no link to download the book was provided. I immediately called about my concern and they have acknowledge this by sending me an email with a ticket number. It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to resolve this issue.

Caitrìona called from Florida this morning for a short chat; it was wonderful to hear her voice!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-26 °C
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -26.0°C
Dewpoint: -30.1°C
Humidity: 69 %
Wind: SE 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -33

Quote

“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”
Eddie Rickenbacker
1890 – 1973

A Long, Long Way

I woke up at 3: a.m. this morning and made my way through the dark to the washroom.  My bare feet became icicles before I made it back into bed.  Attila had kept the bed warm, so I warmed quickly after diving back under the eiderdown.

This morning I am dressing for the indoor weather.  From toe to head:

  • Wigwam -40F/C socks (ca 2010)
  • faux-fur lined mid-calf slippers
  • thermal tights
  • flannel pants (pajama day!)
  • cotton short sleeve t-shirt
  • long sleeve turtle neck shirt
  • long sleeve sweat shirt
  • Cowichan Sweater (ca 1989, Banff)

I’m layered large and comfortable. The warmest part of the house is 16C, it is about 12C where my desk sits nearer the windows.

Cowichan Sweater

Cowichan Sweater

Attila gave me two pairs of Wigwam socks for Christmas.  I love getting these socks for Christmas, they are a real indulgence.  My feet feel almost massaged when I put them on; they are the most comfortable socks I’ve ever worn in my life.  Made in Wisconsin, they are about as locally produced as a sock can be in North America.  The price reflects not only the fact that they are made in North America, but also the quality.

My Cowichan Sweater was a gift to myself. I was presenting a paper at a conference in Banff, where almost every retail clothing store sold Cowichan Sweaters. I spent most of my free time touching and feeling and looking for the one that was meant for me. I found it and have been wearing it ever since. These sweaters are registered and numbered, like art prints are numbered.  The joy of quality is that a little bit of product goes a long, long way.  After the initial cost, there is nothing left to do but enjoy the item for a lifetime.  I intend to make this sweater an excellent investment.

Pat Logier loved his Cowichan Sweater. Once, on a camping trip, he let me wear it for an evening around the campfire. I fell in love with Pat, and his sweater. Wearing my Cowichan Sweater, I am wrapped in the warm blanket of the past.

This morning Attila is making blueberry pancakes.  I really enjoy my pancakes with vanilla yogurt.  Maple syrup is better, but that is just too much sugar. I just said that to be logical and correct. I will be eating vanilla yogurt with my pancakes.  What I really feel though, is that you can never, ever, ever have too much sugar.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-23 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Visibility: 13 km
Temperature: -23.0°C
Dewpoint: -25.9°C
Humidity: 78 %
Wind: N 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -30

Quote

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”
Ovid
43 BC – 17 AD

Notes

It has occurred to me that simple links to information about things like Wigwam Socks and Cowichan Sweaters may be temporal.  One hundred years from now those web pages may not be accessible.  The Great Great Grandkids won’t know what I’m talking about.  The way things are going it is possible the Grandkids won’t know what I’m talking about!  Though, to be honest, I think what I write here will be of much more interest to my distant descendants than to the descendants that actually know me in the here and now.  So this is for you, unknown babies of the future.

Wigwam Socks
“Wigwam Mills, Inc. is proud to knit its socks in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, U.S.A., just for you because we care.
We care that thousands of manufacturers in this country sacrifice quality for less-expensive labor in other areas of the world, to increase the bottom line. We continue to lobby in Washington D.C. for programs that responsibly limit the quantity of imported products coming into this country while still pursuing a policy of fair trade with our many global neighbors. We care about the environmental, sociological, and financial implications of this policy.”
Source: http://www.wigwam.com/AboutUs.aspx

Cowichan Sweaters
“Cowichan knitting is a form of knitting developed by the Cowichan people of southeastern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The distinctively patterned, heavy-knit Cowichan sweaters, popular among British Columbians and tourists, are produced using this method. Cowichan knitting is an acculturated art form, a combination of European textile techniques and Salish spinning and weaving methods. From this union, new tools, techniques and designs developed over the years.”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowichan_knitting

Cold Snap

Cold. Mist sits in front of the masonry heater when the fire is burning, basking in the warmth. Mist sits in front of the masonry heater when it is not firing, yowling loudly to let us know that it is chilly in the house and a roaring fire would be appropriate. Three full fires a day are the maximum we will burn in the masonry heater, as no additional heat is to be gained by additional firings beyond three. This afternoon Attila will build a fire in the little cast iron wood stove in the basement for additional heat.

Tonight we definitely need to sleep under the eiderdown.

We decided to make a dash for the grocery store this afternoon after Attila got home from work. The drive alone took more than an hour round trip, and it took us about an hour to do our shopping. The second we arrived back Attila built a fire in the little wood stove downstairs. While we were away the indoor temperature near the masonry heater dropped two degrees centigrade, to 16C.

Dinner is already made, we are having leftovers. I pan fried haddock last night; dredged in flour and ground pepper, browned lightly in olive oil, with lots of chopped garlic. Attila feels it was the best fish dinner he has ever had. The taste was outstanding. The presentation, well as far as I’m concerned the presentation could be improved. I guess if it really bothered me, I could eat with my eyes closed.

Extreme weather, like poor health, has a way of overwhelming other aspects of every day life.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-15 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 2 km
Temperature: -15.0°C
Dewpoint: -16.7°C
Humidity: 87 %
Wind: NW 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -18
Tonight and Tomorrow morning:
Significant wind chill tonight into Sunday morning.
This is a warning that extreme wind chill conditions are imminent or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..Listen for updated statements.
Clearing skies with increasing northerly winds will give cold wind chill values in the minus 35 to 40 range beginning overnight and continuing into Sunday morning. People outdoors should exercise extreme caution as frostbite on exposed skin may occur in as little as ten minutes.

Quote

“The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it.”
Napoleon Bonaparte
1769 – 1821

Lifting Weights

Life is full of surprises! Sometimes unwelcome, sometimes very welcome indeed. The universe has been lifting weights, including one from my shoulders.

Light Shoulders

Light Shoulders

Since my request to relocate at work, the opportunity to work seems to be coming my way. I have the equivalent of fifteen days of work scheduled over the next two months. I am in shock and awe. Sometimes things just fall into place and this seems to be one of those times. This turn of events was not anticipated.

In addition, one of the interviews I recently attended, for a temporary position, looks like it may materialize into about six months work. The hours for this position are flexible, meaning I can juggle the job I already have with the temporary position. That would make for a very busy schedule for the duration of the six month contract, but who’s complaining!

The temperature will fall to -24C tonight. Attila will have an extra fire in the little wood stove downstairs tonight, to keep the basement temperature above freezing. Today is quite windy, which always makes it more challenging to keep the house warm. Although the house is well insulated, it is an older cottage and there is no barrier wrap such as tyvek on the exterior walls. Tomorrow night the predicted temperature will fall to -26C, and Sunday night it will be even colder at -30C. Attila will be working hard with the firewood to keep us warm this weekend.

And… there is a snow squall warning in effect, does that seem fair! Humph!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Snow Squall Warning in Effect
-10 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -10.0°C
Dewpoint: -14.9°C
Humidity: 68 %
Wind: WNW 21 gust 35 km/h
Wind Chill: -18

Quote

“It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.”
Alfred Adler
1870 – 1937