Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New York Times Tuna Article


You can read the full article here. Once again the public gets a good dose of fear mongering. Please educate yourself about seafood consumption. My advice, moderation. Hey, I like tuna too, but I would not recommend you eat it at every meal. Just to offer an opposing opinion check this out. Or you can read this article from the 2006 conference on mercury as a global pollutant.

Mercury: selenium interactions and health implications (72-77)

Laura J Raymond, PhD; Nicholas VC Ralston, PhD.

University of North Dakota, USA

Abstract

Measuring the amount of mercury present in the environment or food sources may provide an inadequate reflection of the potential for health risks if the protective effects of selenium are not also considered. Selenium's involvement is apparent throughout the mercury cycle, influencing its transport, biogeochemical exposure, bioavailability, toxicological consequences, and remediation. Likewise, numerous studies indicate that the selenium, present in many foods (including fish), protects against mercury exposure. Studies have also shown mercury exposure reduces the activity of selenium dependent enzymes. While seemingly distinct, these concepts may actually be complementary perspectives of the mercury-selenium binding interaction. Owing to the extremely high affinity between mercury and selenium, selenium sequesters mercury and reduces its biological availability. It is obvious that the converse is also true; as a result of the high affinity complexes formed, mercury sequesters selenium. This is important because selenium is required for normal activity of numerous selenium dependent enzymes. Through diversion of selenium into formation of insoluble mercury-selenides, mercury may inhibit the formation of selenium dependent enzymes while supplemental selenium supports their continued synthesis. Further research into mercury-selenium interactions will help us understand the consequences of mercury exposure and identify populations which may be protected or at greater risk to mercury's toxic effects.

Key words mercury, selenium, mercury-selenide, selenocysteine, selenoenzymes, bioavailability, pathophysiology, mercury toxicity, selenium deficiency.

Full article in PDF





Image© 1997 King Features Syndicate

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

LOBSTER SEX, DOES IT MATTER?

I have had many questions about the differences between male an female lobsters. The following information is intended to clear up these questions and more. Most of the information here is from detailed conversations I have had with my purveyors, although I have tried to include links to relevant web sources as well. Here in New York we often run into an account or two that wants us to supply them with female lobsters. Some of the reasons given to us include: better yield (meat vs. shell), different flavor profile, and the inclusion of roe. In addition to these reasons I also believe that it may be a request similar to a rider that bands have asking for something obscure like a certain brand of organic cereal in order to judge our commitment to service. Regardless of the reason it is not always easy to supply these female lobsters. Some lobster houses will not even sell them knowing what a headache it is. And then there is the limited availability due to regulations designed to increase the natural stock. For a wealth of information check out The Secret Life of Lobsters.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Canadian Oysters


It is that time of year again when we will have less oysters from our neighbors to the north. The ice has started to build near the harvest areas. This ice is making it difficult to get boats in for the harvest. Once the ice is hard enough to walk on then they will be able to get to the beds and resume harvest. Until then there are plenty of other east coast oysters from New England, and Long Island.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Kona Kampachi


With the diminishing availability of wild product many new and well managed aquaculture products are coming available. On such fish is coming from Kona Blue of Hawaii. They are growing a once minimally important native Hawaiian fish in a sustainable way. The fish lends itself to a wide array of preparations. It is rich and fatty, with the full flavor of the sea and no muddy taste like some are quick to taste in some other farmed fish. Give it a try as a sushi or crudo item. Or pair it with your signature sauce. If you don't have a signature sauce a bit of salt and pepper and a dash of butter or olive oil will only help to make this fish shine.