Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Feed them better!

School canteens around the world don't have the best reputation although there are certainly exceptions to this. They are often considered places that provide our kids with unhealthy junk food. I still remember Jaime Oliver's almost heroic fight for more healthy food in Britain's schools with his project "Feed Me Better".F act is that many are indeed serving low quality food because it is cheaper and easier to prepare in large quantities. Or as in many North American Universities you find a lot of the standard fast food franchises instead of a real kitchen on site.
Take a pick! Halibut or flounder?*
I have been posting about market substitution in Natural Health Products and food before and, especially for fish DNA Barcoding has been used widely to unravel some very bad habits in the business. But now a group of Italian researchers report a case of substitution at a school canteen in Tuscany. The children had been served fish that was supposedly halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) but turned out to be a much cheaper flounder of the genus Paralichthys. Fillets were reported by the cooks to have an unusual reaction to cooking and researchers of the University of Pisa used mitochondrial DNA markers to show that the suspicion was indeed correct.

It is already bad enough that fish mislabeling was found to be rampant in the marketplace but it gets worse if our children are dragged into this right at their schools. It is reassuring to see that some cooks like the ones in that Tuscan school are doing a proper and caring job.

However, I have to admit that I am glad that we prepare the lunch for our kids our self at home.

* The filet on top is halibut and the bottom one is from a flounder 

h/t Andy Bentley 

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