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Alcohol Sustainability

Johnnie Walker Launching Sleek And Sustainable Paper Bottle Next Year

Photo: Diageo

Next year, expect more and more spirits to go completely plastic-free as many companies are transitioning to sustainable paper spirit bottles.

Diageo, the makers of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness have just announced that they’ve created the first-ever 100% plastic-free paper bottle to house spirits.

The new bottle is made from sustainably sourced wood and will make its inaugural debut with Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky in the early half of 2021.

This launch coincides with Diageo’s new partnership with venture management company Pilot Lite to launch a new sustainable packaging technology company called Pulpex Limited.

These new Pulpex bottles boast ‘first-of-its-kind’ scalability that’s designed to be 100% plastic-free and fully recyclable. Pulpex Limited will also kick off a partnership consortium of fast-moving consumer goods companies that include Unilever and PepsiCo. These companies are also expected to launch their own branded paper bottles based off Pulpex’s designs and tech.

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News

You’ve Been Eating Parmesan Cheese Made With Wood And Never Even Knew It

Unbeknownst to many, Parmesan fraud is a growing issue in today’s cheese market (despite how jokey that sounds). According to the FDA, Parmesan cheese is being cut more and more often with a variety of things that aren’t Parmesan cheese, namely other cheeses and…wood pulp.

I had an idea of what wood pulp was, but I wasn’t entirely sure, so I googled it. Turns out, it’s exactly what you would expect it to be: pieces of wood ground down so finely that it becomes pulpy. In order to make maximum profits using minimum resources, several companies (both proven guilty and allegedly guilty) used the pulp replacement to save on ingredients.

According to the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations, Parmesan cheese (or more properly known as Parmigiano-Reggiano when referring to the actual thing) is allowed to have only three ingredients in it: milk, rennet (in order to harden the cheese), and salt. Small enzyme particles of plant and animal origins are allowed to make their way into the cheese during the fermentation process, but combined can only weigh .01 percent or less of the total weight of the milk used. Additionally, creators of the cheese can add food coloring if they would like, as long as every coloring used, no matter how little, is listed in the ingredients.

A large number of companies have come under fire lately for their misleading products, including big competitors like Kraft. Three ingredients that are absolutely not allowed in the cheese are cellulose, potassium sorbate and cheese culture, yet all three were found in Kraft’s Grated Parmesan Cheese, on top of the wood pulp. While a slap in the face like this might fly in America, the land of gracious rebranding, the cheese is an affront to Europeans, who live close enough to Parma, Italy, to try the real deal. Thus, the European FDA forbade Kraft from selling their cheese in Europe, or at the very least, selling it under the guise of Parmesan.

This “wood in your cheese” news comes as an unwelcome surprise to Parmesan-lovers for two reasons, the first reason being good ol’ fashioned deceit. Nobody enjoys having the wool pulled over their eyes or feeling tricked. So finding out through third party sources that the cheese you love so much has been parading around as something else this entire time is sure to incite some pretty unhappy, if not furious, emotions.

Second, we are now eating things in which we are unsure of the ignredients. We as consumers are not particularly happy when we eat something that isn’t what it is advertised to be. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like anybody is being fed bleach or cyanide or anything like that; it’s not anything life-threatening. But for people with very specific allergies, or people that are sticklers for health, a discovery like this is easily enough to dissuade them from ever purchasing the product made by that company again.

One talented Forbes Magazine contributor, Larry Olmstead, created an in-depth article pointing out all the issues with Parmesan cheese made in America, pointing out that tricky American labels are leading to misrepresentation strong enough to fool consumers. He uses the skewed labeling for Kraft’s 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, pointing out his confusion by saying, “I’m not sure if that means it is supposed to be 100% “parmesan” or simply 100% grated, which it certainly is.” Many other companies that sell the grated and bottled cheese also bank on slick and devious labeling, using ambiguous words and phrases like “all natural” and “100% real.” Anything can be considered 100% real if it’s a tangible object, can’t it? And words like “natural” have implied meanings, but nothing concrete, which is especially useful for companies looking to spin the true nature of their ingredients.

 

 

Sources: Forbes, Bloomberg, Grubstreet

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Hit-Or-Miss

FDA’s Ban on Wooden Cheese Boards Could Devastate the US Artisan Cheese Industry

artisan-cheese

This could very well be the first sign of the cheesepocalypse. In a move that’s shaking the dairy world, the Food and Drug Administration issued a ban on the practice of aging cheese on wooden boards — including a majority of cheeses imported to the US. Aging cheese is a process that incorporates bacteria, enzymes, molds and environmental factors to add to the flavor of the final product. While this centuries-old process may sound unappetizing, it makes for damn good cheese.

It all started when the New York State Department of Agriculture asked the FDA if surfaces made from wood were an acceptable means to age cheese, according to Forbes. The branch chief of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutritions Dairy and Egg Branch replied:

The use of wooden shelves, rough or otherwise, for cheese ripening does not conform to [Current Good Manufacturing Practices], which require that “all plant equipment and utensils shall be so designed and of such material and workmanship as to be adequately cleanable, and shall be properly maintained.”

While the regulation does not directly mention wood, the FDA will likely argue that wooden boards never truly reach their standard of cleanliness in comparison to plastic and metal alternatives. Because nothing says artisan like a cold and sterile factory environment.

While major cheese manufacturers like Kraft will be unaffected — they don’t require the wood-aging process — smaller businesses who make artisan cheeses will most definitely be devastated. Time will tell whether or not the FDA will back down or ease up on this regulation.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Wooden Block Filters Your Coffee and ‘Remembers’ Each Cup Made

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If you’re looking for a unique coffee-drinking experience you just can’t get at your local shop, try this wooden coffee maker on for size.  Made by Canadiano, this pour-over wooden coffee maker is handcrafted to match up with different beans or roasts.  Whether you pick the cherry, maple, or walnut wood versions will determine the beans you brew each morning.  Maple and cherry work best with citrusy beans, while walnut suits darker roasts.

The coffee (after it’s mixed with hot water) filters through the wood, leaving behind specific oils and smells and turning each block into a personalized filter designed for your tastes.

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H/T + Picthx Design Taxi

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Products

Wooden Sushi Playset

These adorable wooden toys from Melissa & Doug will show children (and maybe even some adults) just how much fun sushi can be. The set includes two different rolls, four types of nigiri, a small bowl of soy sauce and even some wasabi and ginger. The segments of the two rolls stick together with velcro dots. When you slice them with the cleaver, the sound of velcro pulling apart makes it sound like they’re really being cut. The set comes packed in its own black lacquer bento box, complete with matching chopsticks. ($16.01 @ Amazon)

 

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Hit-Or-Miss

Banana Carvings

Some people like to carve wood, some ice, and if you’re really fancy you shape granite. But it takes real talent to shape bananas and that’s exactly what this Japanese Pixiv member does. Look at that perfect rendition of Davey Jones. (Thx Neatorama)

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Products

Wooden Hamburger

Continuing his burger art prowess, Char.L.Ton has revealed pictures of this amazing, multi-layered wooden hamburger. Everything from meat, bread, cheese, tomatoes and onions are accounted for with artistic ferocity. While this creation isn’t for sale, Char.L.Ton mentioned that he has hopes to create other wood pieces like this into the future, but right now, burgers are his passion.

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Products

Mix Stix

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Everyone needs to keep a good rhythm in the kitchen, so what better way to do that by drumming with your cooking sticks. Mix Stix are washable beechwood spoons, with drumstick ends. So you can rock out when you’re not stirring, drum roll on the stockpot, or give that mixing bowl a cymbal smash. Get with the beat! (Thx Worldwidefred)