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    Exclamation ALERT! ALERT! CHOCOLATE LOVERS!

    World's chocolate supply in peril

    Sarah Staples CanWest News Service Saturday, March 26, 2005

    Hold on tight to that yummy Easter bunny -- it could soon be an endangered species. Scientists are warning that a battle against plant invaders threatening to destroy the world supply of chocolate has entered a dangerous new phase.

    Scientists who met in Costa Rica recently to discuss the threat from Moniliophthora roreriis, a fungus commonly called "frosty pod," fear it could not only wipe out cacao production in Latin America, but that it may take hold in disease-free West Africa, the last significant source of history's most enduring treat.

    Cacao, the tree responsible for the delectable obsession of billions of consumers, has been under siege from "witches' broom," a fungus that deforms its branches and shrivels the pods harbouring cocoa beans. Advancing inexorably through South and Central America in the past decade, the fungus has devastated Brazil's Bahia region, once the major supplier of premium cacao, and prompted a steady rise in prices for cocoa beans.

    Plant breeders and geneticists had been making slow progress to stave off witches' broom, designing new biological pesticides and fungus-resistant strains of cacao. But those efforts could be undone by damage from frosty pod, which used to be rare in Latin America but is invading new turf at alarming speed.

    The world's top cacao scientists will meet in Quebec City next year to refine a new, international "action plan" aimed at keeping the fungus from becoming "pandemic in Central and South America and the Caribbean," according to a document produced at the meeting in Costa Rica.

    "It's considered more of an urgent problem for scientists right now," said Ray Schnell, a plant geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Subtropical Horticulture Research Station, in Miami, Fla.

    Fast-spreading frosty pod leaves young, fist-sized bean pods swollen and shiny white. Its spores are hardier than other fungi, and can travel huge distances, thriving for months despite dry heat and direct sunlight.

    Within two years of landing in Peru, in 1991, cacao production there dropped by three-quarters.

    Schnell, who leads genetic research for an international network of scientists collaborating to preserve cacao, said at-risk countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, and much of Central America and the Caribbean, are being urged to fund quarantine zones, and ramp up research.

    It is believed to have already reached the Brazilian Amazon. The World Cocoa Foundation predicts it could eliminate 20 per cent of world cacao production in Brazil within a decade.

    PHOTO CREDIT: CREDIT: Hermann J. Knippertz, Associated Press
    Demonstration 2005, a sculpture by German artist Sonja Alhaeuser, consists of various kinds of chocolate. The sculpture is part of an exhibition called Art in Chocolate at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany. Sculptures from 21 international artists are on display at the exhibition.

    Times Colonist (Victoria) 2005
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    I guess y'all are SAVED for this weekend!

    Chocolate lovers given green light for weekend

    Canadian Press Saturday, March 26, 2005

    MONTREAL (CP) -- Chocolate may sweeten your sex life but an overdose can also swell your waistline, experts said on the eve of the Easter weekend.

    A panel of health officials also recommended dark chocolate as a less fattening but more bitter alternative to sugar-saturated Easter bunnies.

    An array of dark chocolate samples were handed out at a news conference summarizing their health benefits -- and desirable side-effects.

    McGill professor Dr. Joe Schwarcz noted that cocoa beans contain flavonoids, a compound found to be potentially beneficial in reducing the risk of heart attacks or strokes.

    "These flavonoids actually do have blood pressure-lowering effects," said Schwarcz.

    "The higher the cocoa content, the better. So the chocoholics can come out of the closet."

    He drew chuckles when he mentioned preliminary research linking chocolate to the libido.

    Tests conducted in the 1990s by Chicago researcher Alan Hirsch indicated the scent of chocolate caused a slight increase in penile blood flow.

    Dr. Hirsch, neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Center Foundation, provided male volunteers with masks scented with various odours and combinations of odours.

    The test subjects were then outfitted with unusual monitoring devices.

    "He (Hirsch) has taken little blood-pressure cuffs and put them on the penises of volunteers," said Schwarcz.

    "Of course the idea is to measure how one can increase pressure in that particular part of the anatomy.

    "The higher the flavonoid content, the greater the effect."

    And the darker the chocolate, the higher the flavonoid content.

    Several people at the news conference were seen stuffing their bags with the samples of bitter dark-chocolate squares featuring a cocoa content of 88 per cent.

    But the experts cautioned Easter shoppers to abide by the age-old adage that too much of a good thing can be bad in the long run.

    North Americans buy up to 60 per cent of their chocolate during holidays such as Easter, which is the third most popular chocolate-buying period after Halloween and Christmas.

    The array of available products can lead to overeating and obesity, said nutritionist Marie-Claude Paquette.

    "After holidays such as Christmas and Easter, we have a tendency to eat too much of some foods, including chocolate," she said.

    Times Colonist (Victoria) 2005
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    "He (Hirsch) has taken little blood-pressure cuffs and put them on the penises of volunteers," said Schwarcz.

    Uhhhh...I don't remember THAT from EMT training......

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    I hope those are disposable blood pressure cuffs.

    I think it's all a terrorist attack, destroying all the world's chocolate.
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    Question

    I wonder how many Federal dollars can be spent on researching this issue? Course, it will take a lot of tiny little blood pressure cuffs.

    Where do you put the stethoscope.......?

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    Talking hmmm

    The test subjects were then outfitted with unusual monitoring devices. He (Hirsch) has taken little blood-pressure cuffs and put them on the penises of volunteers," said Schwarcz. "Of course the idea is to measure how one can increase pressure in that particular part of the anatomy. The higher the flavonoid content, the greater the effect."

    ** raises hand. I volunteer to take the blood pressure **


    At least now I know for my next date (what's that?), make him a dark chocolate mousse for dessert.

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    "He (Hirsch) has taken little blood-pressure cuffs and put them on the penises of volunteers," said Schwarcz.
    I hope he warmed his hands first!
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

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    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, chocolate.

    Settle down cheffie, you'll get yourseslf all hot and bothered.

    And ain't nobody putting a "little blood pressure cuff" on Mr. Happy.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    Default Wow!

    Talk about a thread hijack!

    Starting out with chocolate and ending up with a teeny-weeny BP cuff for the ...well you know....(the weenie!)

    No wonder the Easter Bunny is frustrated!
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    Hehehehe..
    next question...where do you put the stethoscope?

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    I'm wondering if that paragraph was an incorrect translation, or just a faux pa of a mis-print?

    **Just remember People, I don't write this stuff, I just find it. **
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Default actually...

    I found a number of references to the small BP cuff. I would say the translation is fairly accurate......

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    Unhappy No chocolate wold be really, REALLY BAD!!

    Concerning the original post...

    I have great faith in the agricultural industry, and am sure that agricultural biotechnology holds the key to ending this thing. We already have insect resistant, drought and cold tolerant, and disease resistant varies of other plants...also, those that are nutritionally enhanced and a million other things...increased crops yields at lower costs by genetically modifying crops to make them perennial, even edible vaccines... BUT, this brings us to another dilemma...

    Do the benefits of feeding a growing population, producing healing medicines, and increasing the value of global agribusiness markets outweigh the fear of super-weeds, loss of genetic diversity, and concerns for unknown risks from genetic pollution?? Is "messing with" nature even ethical?

    Any opinions on this?
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    Do the benefits of feeding a growing population, producing healing medicines, and increasing the value of global agribusiness markets outweigh the fear of super-weeds, loss of genetic diversity, and concerns for unknown risks from genetic pollution?? Is "messing with" nature even ethical?
    I'm still trying to figure out where to put the stethoscope.

    It's way too early in the morning for a discussion on bioethics.

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    I'm still trying to figure out where to put the stethoscope.



    Cheffie, you don't have to worry about that, you can take the pressure by palpation.


    Tanker
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    Smile

    Haha, yeah ya gata point there...I'm not feeling much like debating right now in the A.M. either, but I was when I posted last night!

    I really am curious about what some of you, especially those I know who are very opinionated, think about this issue though...the only input I can get from people at my dept. seems to be, "I'll eat it if it don't eat me first!"
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    I think GMO can be good and they can be bad. I would like to see independent long term studies done. I have a hard time beliveing a giant like Con-Agra when they say.....Ohh yeah its perfectly safe.

    Courtney, you should post your GMO arguement that you did for FFA. I got alot of info about it and it was written fairly neutral and objectively.




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    Originally posted by tanker5117



    Cheffie, you don't have to worry about that, you can take the pressure by palpation.


    Tanker
    I hope your hands are warm....
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    I hope your hands are warm....



    For you Rick.................
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    Tanker, my head hurts too much to concentrate. What is that a picture of?

    Perhaps we should turn this discussion back to bioethics. It might be safer.

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    Tanker, my head hurts too much to concentrate. What is that a picture of?

    Poor Cheffie. Those are ice cubes.





    tanker
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    Hellooooo Nurse!
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    Amen
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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