How to keep your pup happy and healthy during the dog days of summer.
Warmer months don't just bring sunshine—they can also present serious health hazards for our favorite furry friends. "Summer is the busiest time of year in the veterinary ER," says Justine Lee, DVM, a board-certified veterinary emergency critical care specialist in Minneapolis. "Pet owners are jogging, picnicking, and enjoying the outdoors, and unfortunately we see more animals experience trauma because of it." Follow this advice so your dog has a safer summer.
Nix ticks and fleas
Ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes are much more common this time of year, and they cause all kinds of illnesses. “At the very least, ticks leave an itchy bite that can become infected, and at worst they can transmit diseases like Lyme,” says Kathryn Primm, DVM, owner of Applebrook Animal Hospital in Ooltewah, Tennessee. Fleas leave itchy bites, while mosquitoes may transmit severe conditions such as heartworm, which can damage an animal’s heart, lungs, and arteries if left untreated.
Protect your pooch with an oral tick and flea medication or topical gel for at least six months of the year. Prevent heartworm by opting for a separate oral therapy like Heartgard or an injection such as ProHeart. Check your pet for ticks daily and watch for symptoms like fever, swollen joints, lethargy, vomiting, weight loss, bruising, and cough, which may signal a tick- or mosquito-borne illness.
Practice safe picnics
"Accidental poisoning is common during the summer because people are picnicking and don’t actually know what’s poisonous for pets,” says Lee. If you bring your dog to an alfresco meal, skip dishes with raisins or grapes—both can cause severe kidney injury—or corn, since cobs can get lodged in a pup’s intestines. (And as you probably know, chocolate is a no-no.) If you’re worried your pet has swallowed something toxic—and are OK with a $65 consultation fee—call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
Add together the outdoor temperature in degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity percentage. "If the temperature plus the humidity is over 150, it’s way too hot to exercise your dog," says Lee. A daytime walk is fine (just stay in the shade as much as possible), but if you want to run or Rollerblade with Rover on a hot day, it’s best to do so in the morning or evening and with a water bottle in hand. If you notice your dog panting excessively or exhibiting dark red or pink gums, it could be overheated. “Those are all signs you need to stop what you’re doing, cool your dog down, and get to a vet,” says Lee, since heatstroke can be fatal in dogs. Try hosing down your dog with cold (not ice) water or offering some H2O to sip on ASAP; then dial your vet.
Don’t plunge in
While some dogs live to swim, others, like pit bulls, prefer to stay on dry land. "Don’t force your dog to swim," says Lee. "You can throw toys and see if he goes for them, but don’t carry your dog into the water. It may make him more fearful.” Worried about your animal’s ability to stay afloat? Invest in a dog life jacket (then take 200 photos of your pup wearing it).
Keep ’em furry
You may think you’re doing your dog a favor by shaving it, but fur is actually helpful in the summertime. For one, it keeps them cool. "If you look at fur, there’s both guard hair and longer hair. In the typical dog that doesn’t have curls, there’s an insular layer of air kept above that guard hair,” says Lee. (Think of it like the insulation in your house.) Their fur also blocks rays: Light-colored dogs with pink skin (like a white boxer) are more vulnerable, but any pup risks getting a burn when it’s shaved down to the skin. And fur also protects pups from the elements. A dog’s coat can help curb bug bites as well as any damage to the skin while you’re out and about—say, on a hike—during the summer.
30 Best Oreo Flavors, Ranked and Tested
We write about Oreos a lot here. Like, a lot a lot. But can you blame us? The classic cookie has been around longer than any of us have (since 1912!), and there are so many Oreo recipes and desserts out there that frankly, we’re surprised that we as a society haven’t caused a nationwide shortage. There are few things in the world more simple and versatile as an Oreo cookie and milk (yes, that includes all of the 85-plus flavors in the brand’s history), and it’s safe to say we’re just a little bit obsessed. Case in point, this giant Oreo cake, these Oreo truffles, this Oreo popcorn, and this Oreo cookie skillet. You get the idea.
It was only a matter of time before we turned around and said, “Have we ever tried them all in one sitting?” We hadn’t. So we did.
Of course, there were hiccups. Although so many Oreo flavors have emerged over the course of the cookie brand’s 110-year lifespan, some flavors are hard to find on shelves. Some seem to be discontinued. Others are only available overseas. Green tea Oreos, for instance, are only available in Japan. (But whyyyy?) That said, our editors are nothing if not intrepid, tracking down a whopping 30 Oreo varieties for an in-depth taste test.
Without further ado, here’s our worst-to-best ranking of every Oreo flavor we could get our hands on. Let us know if we missed any favorites!
How to convert a mushroom hater
As with any difficult relationship, Ollie, it can take work, but there is hope. “When you say, ‘I don’t like mushrooms’, it’s like saying you don’t like wine,” says self-confessed fungus obsessive Will Murray. “There are so many varieties out there, and they all behave in different ways.” The chef and co-founder of Fallow in London, who even grows his own at the restaurant, adds: “If, for example, you brine and deep-fry grey oyster mushrooms, they take on the texture of fried chicken.”
Perhaps a simpler strategy in the fight against squishy, spongy mushrooms, however, is to fry them on a high heat. “You need to be in danger of setting off the smoke alarm, or you’re not doing it properly,” Murray says. Then, as in life, it pays to be patient – and use more butter than seems reasonable. “Mushrooms hold a lot of liquid, so you need to fry them for quite a while to get them crisp,” says Helen Graham, head chef of veg-led Bubala in London. “If you don’t take them to the colour you want before adding other stuff to the pan, the mushrooms will never catch up.”
You could also try replicating Bubala’s charred oyster mushroom skewers. “We marinate the mushrooms in soy sauce, agave, coriander seeds, garlic and vegetable oil, then thread on to skewers and grill,” Graham says. “The agave helps to caramelise them, and obviously the oil helps to give crispiness and a really nice texture.”
Alternatively, pop a portobello in a bun. “I grew up in the Middle East, where it’s always barbecue weather,” says Noor Murad, who heads up the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen. “I love throwing mushrooms on the grill and slathering them in barbecue sauce [homemade or store-bought].” Melt a square of cheese on top, if you fancy, and serve with slaw.
It’s also worth considering how you prep the mushrooms. “You want to keep their meaty integrity, so you can really get your teeth into them, which means don’t chop them too small,” Murad explains. That said, a duxelles [finely chopped mushrooms cooked in butter with onions or shallots and herbs] might be a good gateway. “If she doesn’t enjoy the texture of mushrooms, make a very finely chopped duxelles,” Murray says. “The mushrooms dissolve into the sauce and add a rich undercurrent of earthy umami.” Spread on toast, add to omelettes or mashed potato, or go all out with a wellington.
You could also, of course, do away with cooking them altogether. “Raw mushrooms aren’t slimy,” says Murray, who suggests thinly slicing chestnuts or portobellos, dressing them with sherry vinegar (“or even a little sherry”), dijon mustard, olive oil, fresh herbs and minced garlic, then adding to salads. Dried mushrooms, meanwhile, have “second chance” written all over them. “They’re amazing, especially in the base of soups and stews,” Murad says. “You don’t get the texture, but you’ll get that umaminess – maybe that’s a good way to get Ollie’s partner to like mushrooms.” Graham agrees. She adds shiitake (“porcini would be equally delicious”) and kombu to stock, reduces down “with something tangy like pomegranate molasses”, then uses it as a sauce for cabbage. Happily, it’s good with other veg, too, so there’s shroom to manoeuvre. *groans*
Preventing food fraud: Europe’s battle against the spice pirates
Spices are among the oldest food products in the world and still enjoy great popularity today. But h..
Spices are among the oldest food products in the world and still enjoy great popularity today. But how can we be sure of their quality and authenticity? With serious money to be made, counterfeiters are often attempting to fradulently pass off inferior products as the genuine article.
To find out more about how fraud in this arena can be identified and stopped, we went to Belgium to meet a spice trader – and also to see scientists working at the Joint Research Centre’s Fraud Detection Unit.
Herbs and spices are the daily business of Alexandre Veuve; he is the manager of the prestigious spice specialist and gourmet grocery store Le Tour Du Monde En Epices in Waterloo, south of Brussels.
As an expert in the sector, he always guarantees that the products he sells are of the highest quality:
However, he knows only too well that fraud is a common risk in this market:
“There is generally fraud on quite expensive spices, for example saffron. This is a spice that is worth as much as gold, so obviously there are a lot of scams involving it.
“Powders are also the target of fraud because they can be more easily falsified.
“That’s why we make our own powders; we buy the spices whole and then we create them ourselves.”
“There is ofen fraud on quite expensive spices – for example, saffron. This is a spice that is worth as much as gold, so obviously there are a lot of scams involving it.”Euronews
Europe’s food fraud unit
One of the facilities of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Geel in Belgium hosts the European Food Fraud Detection and Prevention Unit. Here, teams of scientists analyse samples of spices imported to Europe using state-of-the-art technologies, in some cases using methods similar to those used for police investigations.
One of the most powerful tools at their disposal is DNA analysis. The genetic map of the spice can indicate whether or not there are foreign biological elements present.
The most common types of fraud are the use of less expensive plants, or the addition of dyes to make the spice appear more attractive or authentic.
Antoon Lievens, a Molecular Biologist at the Unit, says saffron is a good example of where fraud is regularly attempted:
“We’ve found one or two samples that were not saffron at all and the sequencing analysis has shown that it was safflower that has been sold as saffron.
“Another exemple is curcuma (turmeric). We’ve found a sample that was not curcuma, but actually paprika powder that had been dyed or coloured to look like curcuma.”
Analysis via spectroscopy
The detection of fraud is based on a set of investigative protocols, each of which unveils a part of the puzzle. Spectroscopy is one powerful method; it doesn’t require special sample preparation and allows a rapid result through the examination of the samples molecules by a laser beam.
Jone Omar, an Analytical Chemist at the Fraud Detection and Prevention Unit, says this is a foolproof method:
“Spectroscopy is basically based on a ray of light touching the sample, which makes the molecules vibrate and we then obtain a light spectrum readout of the vibration of those molecules.
“So when we focus on a pure food, we have a pure spectrum for it.
“When we spot an adulteration, the spectrum of the vibration of the molecule bands is different.”
This x-ray fluorescence technique, which is also used for non-invasive analysis of artworks to establish authenticity or otherwise, reveals whether or not inorganic materials – such as sand or clay – are present in the plant sample.
Chemical tests such as liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry allow, through the separation of the molecules, the establishment of whether or not there are traces of external dyes present.
These same techniques are also used to create chemical fingerprints of spices, which can then provide even more in-depth information about the nature of the sample.
If the adulteration is confirmed, certain measures can then be taken.
Franz Ulberth, Head of the Fraud Detection and Prevention Unit, explains:
“One of the further measures could be that you send inspectors to check the company, to look into the books, to (examine) transportation papers, establishing a chain of traceability, to trace it back to the origin.”
The spice production and distribution supply chain is spread between different countries and this makes controls more complicated.
In a growing market of global scale, the use of these techniques is key to certifying the quality of the product.
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