Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal published "Why China Struggles with Food Safety," an overview of the recent food-related scandals we've learned about in the United States: noodles made with wax and ink, glowing pork, and a second round of clenbuterol-induced illness:
Nearly 300 people in the city of Changsha were reportedly sickened after eating meat contaminated with the banned "skinny meat" additive clenbuterol, the subject of a meat industry crackdown in March.
Clenbuterol ... clenbuterol ... where had I heard that term? Oh, yeah. Doping scandals in the cycling world.
Just a few weeks ago, Danish cyclist Philip Nielsen got a pass from the Danish sports federation after clenbuterol was discovered in his system. A Spanish cyclist, Alberto Contador, got a reprieve for the same scandal; seven of his countrymen weren't so lucky -- they were caught in a clenbuterol-doping ring. Googling around, I came upon a "Steroid Super Site" that advises that the drug, originally developed to treat asthma (and akin to albuterol, the drug in most inhalers), is great for burning fat and building lean muscle. However, its effectiveness quickly fades, so you'll need to take antihistamines for a few days every few weeks to kick it back into gear. Safety first! the website advises. Antihistamines make you drowsy, so be sure to take them at night.
And so, if you can believe it, Nielsen's defense was that he'd eaten beef doped with clenbuterol. The takeaway lesson for all you pro cyclists facing a steroid scandal: Blame the Chinese.