May 29, 2012

Sushi Safety In Beirut

( Guest post by Food Scientist Rawan Hammoud) 
One of the sushi samples taken for testing

Sushi Popularity in Lebanon:
Sushi as a food product has grown and evolved to create an entire industry of Sushi bars which has found its way to the Lebanese market. Sushi was first introduced in Lebanon upon the opening of “Le Sushi Bar” in 1997. A decade ago there were only two Sushi bars in Lebanon, but now this number has had a fifteen fold increase amounting to about 35 Sushi restaurants in Beirut.  The manager of “Le Sushi Bar” considered the consumption of raw fish not unusual in Lebanon. He maintained that in some areas the consumption of raw meat is normal like in the Lebanese staple “Kebbeh Nayye”.

May 22, 2012

The Sweet Paradox: Natural or Artificial Sweetners?

Sugar in Drinks!

A girl in a restaurant orders a burger with fries, and then orders a diet coke. “Do the calories really matter when you are eating all this food?” her friends around her claim. Yes it does. One can of regular coke contain, more or less, 38 grams of sugar.
 Scientists have all agreed about the malicious effect of consuming lots of sugar. Unfortunately, sugar is embeded in almost all of all food . Sugar plays a major role in the production of thousands of food products from cured meats through preserves and frozen fruits to confections.

May 16, 2012

Reading list for this week!

I will be collecting interesting and important articles about food science and nutrition.Though  I usually share them on my facebook page but it gets overwhelming for my fans who are on facebook for fun.
So, if you are seeking abit of education, you may check my blog frequently ( I will be launching the Reading list section soon  )


Ever wondered why canned food tasted bad? And why it would never be like fresh food? What do you know about Autoclaves and retort machines in food preservation? Here is an article that simply explains why preserved foods' flavors are not that delicious>
11/366 - Canned Food

  • Better Nutrition

In Copenhagen Consensus 2012, researchers and Nobel laureates were looking at the smartest solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. A research paper released on hunger and undernutrition by researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute, proposed that decision-makers prioritize micronutrient interventions. A better nutrition would help the world's biggest problems: Hunger and malnutrition. Read more here How Better Nutrition for Children Helps Solve Two of the World’s Biggest Problems
Picture from
  • The Organic Dispute

    Why do people still dispute about organic and the "not-organic" farming? What is the major difference  between both? And why do media have discrepancies when it comes to this subject?Here is an interesting read by  the Atlantic about the War between the organic and conventional farming
Coneygreave Farm and Alport Height, Derbyshire

  • Coco Cola Ethics

    After the PR crisis of Coco Cola that unethically treated migrant workers for picking up the oranges in southern Italy, some have demanded that their sponsorship for the London Olympics should be halted.  Read more about this argument from the Ecologist :Should Coca Cola be allowed to sponsor the London Olympics ???

All pictures were attributed to their owners and were searched for from

May 6, 2012

Do you trust your water bottle?

Water has no taste, no color, no odor; it cannot be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself. It fills us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.”Antoine De Saint-Exupery. 

We take water for granted regarding it as something that is always available, clean and cheap.
 No one can deny that water has become a priceless resource controlling the politics of the world. In some countries, a gallon of water is more expensive than a gallon of oil, leading to water being called the blue gold.

 Lebanon has always been regarded as a country bountiful of water but it is no longer considered as such. Lebanon is facing a major water crisis since water consumption is growing at a steady state due to the growth of population and rapid urbanization. And despite all the rain that fell heavily this winter, drought is still threatening the Lebanese summer since there is no clear governmental plan to use the water efficiently.

A daily star report (Water Crisis Looms in Lebanon) states that : "The problems facing Lebanon are numerous: Illegal wells are introducing sea water into an aquifer and reducing the water table, while industrial waste is polluting the Litani River and turned the Beirut River blood red last month. The nation has few dams and reservoirs to retain the heavy rainfall in the winter months and water officials say consumption is almost entirely unregulated.”

“Tahkik” TV program on MTV documented about “Water Treasure in Lebanon”. The presenter Claude Hindi shed the light on the looming water pollution crisis as well as tackled the issue of bottled water safety.  The report states that 35% of drinking water is sold by companies without any license. And 60% of Lebanese people buy it, especially in poor areas like Beirut suburbs. Astonishing, any person with 4,000 $ can open a place to sell you water and there is actually no proper inspection on them. “Tahkik” went to a place claiming they test and treat their water; they took the samples and microbiologically tested them. Four out of six were polluted and shouldn’t be drank.

Safe drinking water is surely not 100% sterile as it can contain negligible amounts of contaminants without posing any health risk. Contaminants can be microbiological or chemical such pesticides and minerals, but if exceeded high levels can cause illnesses. Tap water may be disinfected with effective, continuous and inexpensive techniques such as chlorine, chloramine, ozone, or ultraviolet light.  As for bottled water, it is disinfected using a more expensive technique of ozone.

Drinking water became merely a business and the report defined four types of this business:

  1. Underground resource from artesian wells: need a budget of 20,000 to 100,000 as they apply high standards of treating, purifying and packaging the water by using sophisticated multi-equipped system. However, they constitute 20% from the market.
  2. Other Companies: constitutes 40% of the Lebanese market and need merely 3000$. They usually purify water through using one equipment only.
  3. Water tanks from tap water: located mostly in suburb areas and beside any supermarket, sells the gallon for 750 L.L.
  4. Water Tanks sold in trucks without any hygienic considerations and sell people one gallon for 500LL. 

The report states clearly that there is a newly implemented law that forces most water selling businesses to purify and treat water properly according to certain standards. They also need an industrial investment and a “republic” approval.  Ironically, the special trucks equipped to transport the water and made completely from stainless steel to maintain quality still under pending approval while other unequipped trucks are roaming the streets.

This negligence has to stop. Our government has to start acknowledging that the real threat to our national security is the one affecting our health whether from the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe or even the traffic jam we get stuck in.  

More info on different types of water treatments
MTV ‘s “Tahkik” Report 

May 1, 2012

Latest Food Products and News: March-April

Mango or even green tea flavored Oreo ???? 

Kraft Foods - Corporate are in the step for localizing Oreo to suit the global taste!
Whether it’s green tea Oreos in China, a chocolate and peanut variety in Indonesia, or banana and dulce de leche Oreos in Argentina, a lot rides on Kraft’s efforts to develop alternatives to the iconic cookie-and-cream combination. The 100-year-old sandwich cookie, a $2 billion brand, is going global in a big way (More from the Business week)

HERSHEY'S simple Pleasures to be launched :

 Cream-filled chocolates that have 30% less fat than other milk chocolates. More from Adage 

Edible Packages:

These are dissolvable-packaging for Oatmeal, Cocoa... from MonoSol. Might be edible, sustainable but are they efficient in reducing wastes?

Brewed Cocoa!

Coffee for Chocoholics: Roasted & ground cocoa beans that can be brewed just like coffee! Making our hearts happier :)

PEPISCO and Almarai Joint Ventures: 

المراعي - Almarai raises stakes in PepsiCo joint venture. I wonder which company is benefiting the other? what do you say? Business Source: 

Toshiba's Supermarket Non barcode Scanner

In the latest food News, #Toshiba developed a Supermarket Scanner that can recognize food without the need for Barcodes! How about that? Read more from Forbes : 

Planter's new packaging: less material, made of 100 %recyclable, BPA-free plastic==> requires 25% fewer trucks for transportation than the old jars!! Great environment initiative ! Source: Environment Leader 


Pepsi Next : a cola that has 60 calories & natural sugar. This will be the largest product launched since years by PepsiCo. ! Getting healthwise finally! Article: Portland Press Herald